South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Winnsboro Town Clock — Winnsboro, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Fairfield County  |  Winnsboro Town Clock

Adopt A South Carolina Landmark
Winnsboro Town Clock

In 1785, South Carolina’s General Assembly approved a public market in the Town of Winnsboro (then spelled Winnsborough) in Fairfield County. The square, wooden structure was painted yellow and topped with a bell tower (1). In the 1820s, Robert Cathcart purchased this original market and, in return, donated land along Washington Street that had once a duck pond (1).

Winnsboro Town Clock

William Prows II of Columbia, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Winnsboro’s Town Council accepted this donation and again petitioned legislature for a public market (1). The petition was granted, but the state stipulated that the new market be only 30 feet wide (1) – giving it a striking resemblance to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This second market’s brick edifice also featured a town clock (1).

Winnsboro Town Clock

William Prows II of Columbia, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1837, Colonel William McCreight, the intendant (mayor) of Winnsboro, ordered the clockworks (1). These arrived in Charleston via sail from Alsace, France, and were then carried to Winnsboro in wagons (1). The clock’s fine craftsmanship has withstood the test of time for over a century, making it the longest continuously running clock in the United States (1).

Winnsboro Town Clock

William Prows II of Columbia, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The present tower was erected in 1875 by John Smart, a local African-American carpenter, and his iteration was crowned with a bell, also made in France (1). In days of old, the bell atop public markets rang when fresh meat arrived (1). In 1895, two townsmen struck the bell so vigorously during a fire that it cracked and had to be sent to J. McShane in Philadelphia for repairs (1).

Winnsboro Town Clock

William Prows II of Columbia, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The ground floor of the building that once served as Winnsboro’s public market is now used as meeting space for various organizations. The upper floor is home to the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce.

Reflections on Winnsboro Town Clock

Below is a painting of the Winnsboro Town Clock that was executed by Gene Brigman. Gene writes: “Town Clock Remembered is an acrylic on canvas painting finished in April of 2007. Having called Winnsboro home for most of my 60 years, I remember that this town clock was the focal point. I’ve heard all of my life that this is the oldest continuously running town clock in the US. I don’t know if it’s true, but true or not, outside of my family, it is one of the strongest memories of growing up in Winnsboro.”

Winnsboro Town Clock Painting

Gene Brigman of Lexington, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Winnsboro Town Clock: Our Sources

1. Town of Winnsboro.

Winnsboro Town Clock Info

Address: 100 Congress Street, Winnsboro, SC 29180
GPS Coordinates: 34.380610,-81.086196

Winnsboro Town Clock Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

7 Comments about Winnsboro Town Clock

Xoxo says:
March 10th, 2017 at 11:30 pm

Beàuty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Samuel Banister says:
September 21st, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I ride by it every day; it is not that amazing.

Sitrena Smith says:
November 27th, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Yes it is! My grandparents, Emma and John Johnson, lived there and I would visit every summer! I loved that clock.

Scott Johnson says:
March 11th, 2014 at 11:40 am

My wife and I recently day-tripped up from Columbia to poke around Winnsboro. We’ve been here fifteen years and have yet to see downtown. Never made it past the strawberry patch. We fell in love with Winnsboro; it is a beautiful little town with charm and appeal.

Tyiesha says:
March 6th, 2013 at 10:01 am

It is so pretty, I want to come and see it one day!

Sitrena Smith says:
November 27th, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Me too!

Walter Jones says:
January 28th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I now live in Florida but still miss the tone of that bell!


Join Us on Facebook
Search for Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Adams Run Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cayce Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Chesterfield Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Daufuskie Island Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Erhardt Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Fort Mill Fountain Inn Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hardeeville Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Hotels & Inns Huger Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Jamestown Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Lowndesville Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Pomaria Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Santee Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stateburg Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Sunsets Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Troy Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Ware Shoals Waterfalls Water Towers Wedgefield West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Woodruff Yemassee York