Elizabethtown United Church of Christ Pastor Rev. Fred Shaw talks about the current clock system in the tower of the church. The clock was donated to the town and housed in the church in 1929. The clock is being replaced by a new digital system and the church is seeking donations to help with the cost.
Time is measured in hours and minutes, as well as bells and chimes in many small towns throughout the North Country.
The sounds of hourly and half-hour chimes coming from local churches and town halls give character to many local communities, including Elizabethtown, which has heard the bell of the United Church of Christ ringing since 1929.
Now, the time has come for the old clock, which was donated to the town and housed at the church, to make its final turns as the hands that have counted the days for residents have also counted down the lifespan of the motors and gears that have made it run.
Over the past few months, the church has been raising funds to help with the replacement of the clock under the direction of its pastor, the Rev. Fred Shaw, who stressed the importance of the clock as a town landmark that was gifted to all residents and not just parishioners.
“This is a town clock,” Shaw said. “Because it belongs to the people of the town, we are hoping that more people outside of the church come forward and contribute.”
Currently, the church has received just over $2,750 in donations towards the $9,250 needed for the equipment. The work will include the replacement of the clock and machinery, which will include a new digital timing mechanism and new clock face.
“One thing that we have heard a lot is that you cannot see the clock at night,” Shaw said. “The new clock will have a new face that will be illuminated at night.”
With the new clock, Shaw said that he will have better control over the ability to chime the bells and fix any potential issues because the controls will be on the first floor of the church.
“I will not have to climb the stairs anymore,” he joked.
Shaw said that the contractor is ready to start the work of preparing for the replacement and that the bulk of the work would take place in July.
“When the carpenter starts his work he will have to take out the current clock and build the facing for the new clock,” he said. “The main work will then be done in July when there are no services in the building.”
Shaw said he was unsure of the future of the current clock face.
“We have talked a little bit to the museum about it, but I know that they have a lot over there,” he said. “I am sure that there will be some historical value to the clock face, but we have not really looked at where it may go.”
Donations for the new clock equipment can be made by mailing them to the Elizabethtown United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 537, Elizabethtown, NY, 12932. For more information, call 873-6822.