Springing courthouse clock ahead ‘pretty easy’

Photos by Traci Westcott/ The Herald
Jasper Courthouse Custodian, Scott Hopf changes a lightbulb on a clock in the tower of the courthouse in Jasper on Sunday morning. Hopf has been working at the courthouse for 10 years and is responsible for the maintenance of the clocks, among other tasks. 


Anyone looking at the clock on top of the Dubois County Courthouse around 8 a.m. Sunday may have watched the hands move forward one hour for daylight saving time.

The twice-a-year process is not that difficult to do, said Courthouse Custodian Scott Hopf.

“One knob controls all four clocks together,” he said.

Getting to that knob is a little bit of a maze. Hopf climbs a ladder and goes through some chutes to get to the top. But he’s used to it. He does that once a month anyway, for maintenance purposes.

Jasper Courthouse Custodian Scott Hopf steps outside after changing the clock for daylight saving time at the Dubois County Courthouse in Jasper on Sunday morning. "Jasper looks small from up here," Hopf said. 

“I want to make sure everything is working OK,” he said, “so I go up to do some checking and to put a little oil in the hands’ mechanisms.”

He’s not at all worried about climbing up in the clock tower to change the big clocks. “It’s very safe,” Hopf said. “There is a nice and sturdy metal ladder in there. They replaced the ladder in there about 10, 15 years ago.”

Along with the main clock, Hopf changes all the clocks in the offices and halls in the courthouse, annex and health department. While there are dozens of clocks to move forward, the task is pretty simple Hopf said. He finishes in a little more than an hour.

“It’s more aggravating hanging all the clocks back on the walls than actually changing the time,” he said.

This is officially the 14th year that the people of Dubois County and most of Indiana have been changing their clocks. Prior to 2005, most of the state observed Eastern Standard Time all year round; pockets of counties in the southwest and northwest corners of the state observed Central Time and daylight saving time.

In 2005, the state started observing daylight saving time. In 2006, the U. S. Dept. of Transportation moved Dubois and five other counties in southwest Indiana (Daviess, Knox, Martin, Perry and Pike) into the Central Time Zone, at the counties’ request. Another request was made by Dubois County and the other counties to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation to move back into the Eastern Time Zone. All but Perry County were allowed to move back in 2007.

So Dubois has been moving its clocks since 2005, and doing so in Eastern Time since 2007. That means the county will move back into Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, Nov. 3.

While some clocks’ knobs only move forward, the knob controlling the clocks at the top of the courthouse goes forward and backward. So making the move in November won’t be a problem for Hopf.

“Really, it’s all pretty easy,” he said.

Jasper Courthouse Custodian, Scott Hopf changes the time on the Dubois County Courthouse clock for daylight saving on Sunday morning. Hopf has been working at the courthouse for 10 years and is responsible for the maintenance of the county clocks, among other tasks.

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