Tuesday, September 15

The old Perry County Court House was destroyed by fire in the year of 1911. At that time the public square was occupied by a court house, jail, and jailer’s residence. The jail was a brick structure on the corner of the street which is now called Lovern Street, the street between the court house and the Salyers building. The jailer’s residence was a small brick structure of two or three rooms facing Main Street and between the jail and the court house. There had been a kitchen and dining room built to the jail out of lumber. There is where the fire started.

J. G. Campbell was county judge at the time. J. D. Bud Davis was County Court Clerk, Lee Daniel was Circuit Court Clerk, and with hard work all the deed books and record books in the two clerk’s offices were saved during the 1911 fire.

Judge Campbell immediately went to work to have a new court house constructed. A bond issue was submitted to the people but it failed to carry but Judge Campbell and the fiscal court managed to get a contractor to build the new Perry County Court House in 1912 on the credit of the county and it was paid for afterwards. At that time the water works in Hazard was not entirely satisfactory so a deep well was drilled at the back of the court house next to High Street and a large steel tank was erected and the water pumped into the tank. This furnished water to the court house and later it was extended on down to the county jail. The steel tank was later taken down and water was furnished by the city.

The court house clock has been out of order for many years but it did all right for awhile and then it quit. I don’t know why, but maybe it was no good from the beginning. I remember one time when I was County Attorney around 1914, I occupied the little corner office next to the Hurst Hotel and next to Main Street just off from the main court room. I was in my office one day and a bolt of lightning hit the court house on top of the belfry or the place where the clock is located. I know that it shook the entire building and raised dust all over the main court room. That may have caused the clock to stop, I don’t know. I know that several attempts have been made since that time to start the clock again and it would respond temporarily and then quit.

1 comment:

  1. I can hear Sam's raspy voice as he speaks. You know, he was a very intelligent mind, full of wisdom. I wish I could paint for my vision of him with his tussled hair and roll-your-own hanging from his lips would be a masterpiece.

    I don't think I heard the story about the clock stopping but that is logical. How I often wondered if it would ever tick-tock again. I think the people who lived in that time frame were so lucky to see this piece of Hazard history. I don't think I ever saw a picture of it but I could look up to it, with its hands stilled, stuck in time. I suppose with this story the day it last ticked is accounted for.