Repairing A Timeless Time Piece In Downtown Scranton

SCRANTON — The gears of the old courthouse clock in downtown Scranton started turning again on Tuesday.

Time’s been at a standstill on the square for about a week while county officials waited for a very special kind of maintenance on the century-old clock.

It’s a big sound, but one we may not really notice until it’s gone. The clock atop the Lackawanna County Courthouse has been quiet for a week because the machine a floor below that makes the bell toll needed maintenance.

“And then one morning when I came in and I just looked out the window I saw that it was 20 to 8:00 and I knew that it was behind. I called Chet and I got the wheels into motion to get the clock man,” said Joe D’Arienzio.

The “clock man” is Robert Rodgers of Harrisburg. He’s been here before. His father electrified the clock back in the 1960s. He says the machine just needed some cleaning and some oil, a minor problem given its age.

“With some maintenance, the clock will be here for years. The clock already is probably nearly 100 years old,” Rodgers said.

On the ground, most of courthouse square is modern, and so is the way most of us tell time. But Rodgers says the mechanics of the courthouse clock have stood the test of time and will certainly last longer than any cell phone.

“I enjoy the fact that we built things 100 years ago that will go another 100 years. I suppose we can’t do that economically but it’s a good sign, you know? There was a day where we could build things to last.”

It must have been a big undertaking all those years ago to put together this well-oiled machine or to lift the cast iron bell high above downtown Scranton. It seems like time hasn’t changed in here.

“I think it’s important sometimes that the clock does stop, because it lets the community realize, ‘Oh, my gosh, we really do depend on that clock.’”

Sometimes the ticking needs to stop so we can see where all the time has gone.

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