Keeping Time For the Village

The Wilder Center’s purple-faced tower clock is today a recognizable landmark in the Village of Wilder, but was not part of the original building. The clock was a gift of the Palmer family in 1928. Mr. Palmer left $500 in his will “to beautify the village as seemed fitting,” and Mrs. Palmer and the Church committee decided the town needed a clock, and that the church steeple was the right place for it.

The clock was built by The Seth Thomas Clock Company of Thomaston, Connecticut, famous 19th century clockmakers, who also built the clock in New York’s Grand Central Station.

This particular clock (No. 2708) was completed in the factory on September 24th, 1928. The clock mechanism is housed in the Wilder Center steeple, just below the enclosed belfry, and it turns the hands on all four clock faces through a series of gears located just behind the clock dormers. Backlighting behind the purple glass faces has been added and is controlled by a photocell, lighting the clock at night.

The clock was repaired in the 1980s, but ceased to operate soon thereafter. When Lyme Properties took possession of the building in 2009, the clock mechanism was covered in decades of accumulated dust and grease, but was otherwise in operable condition. At the Neighborhood Meetings, 85% of the attendees wanted to see the clock operational and have the Meneely Bell ring on the hour again.

In September of 2010 the clock was cleaned, repaired and made ready for full-time operation by Donn Haven Lathrop of Lyndon Center, Vermont. Mr. Lathrop is an authority on American Tower Clocks, and his website has a listing of all Seth Thomas installations in America.

Click here to watch a video of the clock shortly after it was restarted in October 2010.

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