Port Townsend: Congressman to get first-hand look at aging clock tower

PORT TOWNSEND — Rep. Norm Dicks will take a tour Monday of the Jefferson County Courthouse clock tower and learn about efforts to restore the 112-year-old structure.

Dicks, D-Bellingham, will meet with county commissioners at 2 p.m. to get an update on fund raising for the restoration.

Between $3.5 million and $5 million is needed to retrofit the clock tower atop the building at 1820 Jefferson St.

In June, the Washington Trust for Historic Places named the courthouse as one of the 10 most endangered old buildings in the state. It is the second year such a designation has been given to the courthouse.

Engineers say the clock tower, which houses the 3,500-pound bell that rings hourly and four 9-foot-diameter glass clock faces, could topple in an earthquake or sustained winds of 80 mph.

County officials have a warning system that is put into action when winds top 50 mph because of the danger of falling objects.

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