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5/17/2018 7:21:00 PM
Promise kept: Courthouse clock tower, gone since WWII, returns in Crawfordsville

Dave Bangert, Journal and Courier Columnist

CRAWFORDSVILLE – Ray Kirtley glanced at the time Thursday morning as crews from Campbellsville Industries and Brandt Construction hooked lines from a crane to a 6-ton box of tubular steel and aluminum, ready to lift it front and center at the front of the Montgomery County Courthouse.

Kirtley was in a bind.

There on the courthouse parking lot along Washington Street in downtown Crawfordsville, a chapter in Montgomery County history was about to unfold, in no small part instigated by his late father, Dr. James Kirtley.

Twenty-two years earlier, Doc Kirtley had started to raise money, rallying the community to replace a clock tower that had been removed 77 years after – as legend has it – a painter told county commissioners that it was listing to one side. Hours before he died, Doc Kirtley had extracted a vow to finish the job, no matter how long it took. And that day Doc Kirtley had pined for was here, with the courthouse square lined with spectators.

Still, some 50 miles away, at an Indianapolis hospital, Ray Kirtley’s daughter was due to deliver his fourth grandchild. Kirtley, a Crawfordsville attorney, was ready to go, whenever word came that he needed to get in the car.

“It’s a big day – in a lot of ways,” Kirtley said, checking his phone for messages again. “After all this time, maybe they could speed things up.”

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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