LAWRENCE COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — April 27, 2023 marks 49 years after the Lawrence County Courthouse came tumbling down. And with that, was the historic clock tower.

All these years later, it can be found in a place you’d least expect it. 

News 2 made the hike to David Crockett State Park where the courthouse clock tower sits, inconspicuously off the main park road.

“I think they were going to put it up where people can see it out there, but it ended up being located out there next to the maintenance office where nobody goes to, and it’s been there since 1974 hidden away,” said Curtis Peters, President of the Lawrence County Historical Society.

Old courthouse clock tower
Old Lawrence County Courthouse clock tower (WKRN photo)

He has followed the unconventional path of this piece of history for quite some time but unfortunately believes it might have reached the end of the road. 

“They’ve talked to us about trying to get it and move it, and move it to our local museum, we have, but I think it’s just so structurally gone now you know,” he said.

Which makes sense, considering it’s been sitting at the end of this trail, in the same spot for close to 50 years. But how did it get there? 

Peter said during Urban Renewal, the second courthouse in Lawrence County was town down in 1974 after being constructed in 1905. As the building came down, so did the clock tower. 

“I was looking at it when they took it off of the crane, it was nice and shiny, and silver on top. And now with all the red, the paints worn off, you have got the old red metal underneath it,” he explained.

Before it was taken down, the inner-mechanical workings of the clock tower were saved. And now all these years later, Peters said its insides are being used in the new clock tower at the amphitheater in the park.

(WKRN photo)

While he wishes the shroud of the clock tower could have been better preserved, he’s proud of what was saved. 

“A lot of our history here has been done away with overtime, Urban Renewal was a big thing, that tore down lots of buildings. They wanted new modern stuff, and when you do that you lose out on your history,” he said.

The changes ultimately impacted tourism, Peter noted, the town’s 12 train depots have all been torn down.

He said preserving pieces of history like the clock tower is a step in the right direction, even if it means going down the path less traveled.