SOMERSET – Old, splintered, wooden hour and minute hands were removed Tuesday from the clock faces atop the Somerset County Courthouse’s dome and will be sent to a workshop in Ohio, where new metal hands will be fabricated for the century-old timepiece, workers said.

The work was done as part of an ongoing project to repair the clock, which has not functioned for at least four years.

The repairs are being carried out by the Verdin Co., of Cincinnati.

Steve Schoenig, a field service technician for All State Bell & Clock, an independent contractor for the Verdin Co., joined county maintenance workers Duane Jackson and Rick Stutzman and four employees of Berlin-based Darr Construction in removing the hands.

“It went a lot smoother than I thought it would,” Somerset County Commissioner John P. “Pat” Terlingo, who spearheaded a successful effort to raise $20,000 to fund the repairs, said as he helped the workers carry the hands out to Schoenig’s work van. “I just can’t begin to thank the people that donated. … Everybody had a heck of a hand in helping out on this project.”

Doug Mesteller noted that he and his fellow Darr Construction employees donated their time to the project through the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 423.

“We’re glad to be a part of it,” Mesteller said. “Everybody here is.”

The workers braved windy conditions as they climbed ladders set up around the dome of the courthouse in order to reach the clock’s faces.

At 2,190 feet above sea level, Somerset has the highest elevation of any county courthouse in Pennsylvania.

Terlingo said he expects the repairs to be completed within 60 days.


Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.