Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Mar 27

Greene County Courthouse - Where It All Began

Posted on March 27, 2015 at 10:57 AM by Elise Kelly

The Greene County Courthouse is a beautiful, grand building that commands the attention of all who travel through the city of Xenia. The soaring clock tower serves as a point of reference for travelers.

As a new employee of Greene County and a resident of Dayton, I am not very familiar with Xenia. Walking Xenia’s streets to find this restaurant or that city building, I have been using the courthouse as my point of reference. Running my fingers across the rugged stones and gazing up at each level of the courthouse, I began to think more and more about this epicenter and all of its facets.       

 compass 2 
CC Image courtesy of Walt Stoneburner on Flickr

How many times have you walked or driven past the courthouse and wondered who designed it, when and what style of architecture is it?

Working at the Greene County Records Center and Archives, I luckily have the opportunity to dig in and find some answers to my questions using real historical records. Interestingly enough, the present courthouse is actually the third courthouse to be built for Greene County.

Circa 1900 Architectural Drawing of Greene County Courthouse

The first was built in 1809 however; by 1843 an elegant, Classical style courthouse was constructed. As years went by, the county’s needs began to mount and a larger, safer space was needed – the roof of the old courthouse collapsed at one point! In came, Samuel Hannaford and Sons of Cincinnati in 1900 to design a Romanesque stone courthouse.

Romanesque architecture is a Medieval European architectural style. Its features include thick walls and rounded arches. Hannaford also designed several Cincinnati buildings including: Cincinnati's Music HallCincinnati Observatory, and Cincinnati City Hall (see below).

Look how similar both buildings are!

 Greene County Courthouse  Cincy City Hall
Greene County Court House
CC Image courtesy of Miami Valley Planning Commission on Flickr
 Cincinnati City Hall
CC Image courtesy of OZinOH on Flickr

In 1901, to commemorate the commencement of the work on the new courthouse, the building commissioners decided to lay a cornerstone which would house a time capsule. 100 years later on February 27, 2001, the time capsule opened at a public meeting of the county commissioners. Several intriguing, historical items were uncovered that help tell the intricate story of Greene County. These and other stories, memories, and topics will be presented each week from Out of the Clock Tower. Until Next Time!
Time Capsule with some of the items that were
 included inside


Michelle Kelly
March 26, 2015 at 7:17 PM
Love the blog. Keep it going!

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