Court House today
Court House right after
The Courthouse Clock  -  by Verla Achey Thomas

    In the late 1970s there was a movement in educational circles to design junior high school
    curricular around a theme that could integrate the material being taught in the different
    subject areas.

    At Paola Middle School, Principal Olin McCool challenged his teachers to seek ways this
    integration could happen. Since the Miami County Courthouse had a clock tower without a
    clock, the seventh grade teachers thought it might be possible to use the skills they were
    teaching to coordinate activities to start a drive for a courthouse clock. So the math,
    English, reading, science and social studies teachers included the clock project into their
    1979 lesson plans.
    Research in one of the classes informed the students that there was a fund raising drive
    for a clock in 1907. As a part of that effort there was a flower parade where prizes were
    awarded for the best entries.

    The July 12th issue of the Western spirit said, “Paola has been in need of a town clock for
    years. There could be no more beautiful place than in the tower of the courthouse where it
    can be seen for miles.”

    In 1925, a newspaper editorial reported, “Paola can well be proud of its other improvement
    but it is certainly time a clock was purchased and installed in the court house. Let’s get
    behind such a plan and add one or more thing to our town of which we can be proud. After
    these long years of waiting, the clock should be one of the finest.”

    So, students and teachers went to work on a third attempt for a tower clock. Even before
    the drive began, students gained much practical experience as they went through proper
    channels to get permission to start the drive. Permission from School Superintendent Dr.
    Wm. Cleary, County Commissioners, and the Paola School District Board.

    An unusual field trip was taken when all of the 7th grade students and their teachers
    walked down to the Courthouse where a delegation of students addressed the County
    Commissioners. The students who made the presentation sat in the jury box while the
    other students supported them from seats in the courtroom. The class of the 1979-1980
    received permission to start the $13,000 drive and then turn the project over to the next
    7th grade class.

    Many fund raising efforts began in the late fall. There were collections taken ball games, a
    talent show was held, musicians donated time for a country western show, clock faced
    buttons were made and sold, presentations were made at civic clubs, etc.

    The students were still a long way from reaching their $13,000 goal. However, when the
    Miami County Bar Association donated $100 to the fund, the bigger donations began to
    come in. By the end of the school term, the students were very near the goal. The I.T.
    Verdin Co. had offered to give the seventh grade class a 5% discount on the $13,000 price
    if they raised the money by the end of June; so the young people worked into the summer
    to finish their work.

    There was enough money for a bronze plaque listing the names of individuals and
    organizations that donated $100 or larger amount. That plaque on the first floor of the
    Courthouse reminds citizens that young people with a dream and encouragement from
    their community can make a difference in our world.
The Class that made it happen
1917 Postcard
missing clock
Hannes Poetter Design and Sponsorship - all rights reserved
Miami County Historical Museum - 12 E. Peoria, - Paola, KS 66071 Phone: 913-294-4940
Your ad could be
Your ad could be
Your ad could be
Your ad could be
Your ad could be
Your ad could be
A big Thank You
to our Sponsors