THE FINAL COUNTDOWN — At noon on Dec. 7, a clock chimed for the first time in nearly half a century on Springville’s Main Street.
SPRINGVILLE — After 43 years, bells are once again ringing on Main Street in Springville.
A newly-erected community clock stands in what is now known as M&T Bank Park, a strip of land on the corner of Main and Mechanic streets donated to the village by the neighboring bank. The new clock stands under the space where the old Farmers Bank clock hung from 1928 until that building was razed in 1971.
“This is a day to celebrate in Springville,” said Springville Mayor William Krebs, noting that the renovation of the park and clock installation marked “the completion of a community-wide project.
ALL IN GOOD TIME — Members of the Springville Clock Committee are joined by Village Administrator Timothy Horner (fourth from right) and Springville Mayor William Krebs (far right). The Clock Committee is (from left): Joel Maul, co-chairman; Derek Otto; Robert Rung; Donna Krezs; Grover Riefler; and co-chairman David Batterson.
“Not only has the Concord Historical Society been very successful in raising $40,000 for the clock, but the park itself is [part of the] New York Main [Street] Program, which involved grant money; the cooperation of businessmen and also the donation of land from M&T Bank,” added the mayor. “There are a lot of people to thank.”
Krebs officiated the Dec. 7 dedication ceremony, and was joined by the Village Clock Committee, Concord Town Supervisor Gary Eppolito, Erie County Legislator John Mills and Leonard Skrill, of the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal.
Despite below-freezing temperatures, a barbershop quartet warmed up a crowd of donors and onlookers for the hour-long event, capped off by the first tolling of a clock on Main Street in nearly half a century.
“The community has just come together so great on this,” said Joel Maul, co-chairman of the Village Clock Committee. “We’ve got 216 sponsors on this, and we raised the money in less than 3 months.”
TAKE IT HOME, GENTLEMEN — A barbershop quartet entertained the crowd at a chilly M&T Bank Park and community clock dedication in Springville on Dec. 7. Photos by Joshua Gordon.
Maul noted that no tax-payer dollars were used to fund the project.
Since 1999, the Concord Historical Society has made an on-again, off-again push to bring a community clock back to Main Street. According to the Historical Society, a bad economy had scuttled previous efforts.
This year, after a three month push, from July 8-Sept. 8, the Village Clock Committee met and exceeded its funding goal of $40,000. According to Derek Otto, the funds included gifts in kind – such as the granite base for the clock and the labor to install it, donated by the Smith-Weismantel funeral home. Extra funds will go toward maintaining the clock.
“We raised enough for at least $5,000 in a maintenance fund,” explained Otto, who noted that a last-minute donation of $1,000 by Legislator Mills came “as a surprise.” The fund, he said, should keep the clock running smoothly “for at least 30 years.”
Otto explained that, although the project was spearheaded by the Concord Historical Society, “the clock is a gift to the village” of Springville.
The clock itself stands at 18 feet, 9 inches, anchored by a granite base. It is capable of playing 700 different tunes and a number of chimes, which will change throughout the year. The clock’s finial is equipped with a global positioning unit that will reset the time, in the event of a power outage.
Otto said he has thrilled to hear the clock playing carols during the past week – and he’s not alone.
“The elation you have when you walk by and hear it; people love it. The adults, they’re like little kids” when they hear the clock, said Otto.
The names of donors decorate plaques at the base of the clock, and a time capsule filled with donor names will be stored in the base, to be opened on June 28, 2028.
Corporate donors and those who gave $500 or more received commemorative miniature clocks. Otto said that the Historical Society still has a number of miniatures still to be delivered.
“We have lots of clocks to hand out,” he said, and wanted to assure donors that “members of the clock committee will deliver those” by hand.
All donors received a commemorative bronze coin, and all who attended the dedication ceremony received a wooden nickel to remember the occasion.
The clock’s face is adorned with Arabic numbers, which were chosen by a community-wide vote. Roman and Victorian designs were also on the ballot, with Roman losing out by three. Names of those who voted were entered to win a prize of $50 or a miniature clock, drawn during the ceremony. Zach Wilcox, of Springville, took home the prize.
After the ceremony, the Concord Mercantile was opened for the Concord Country Christmas, with refreshments, more music by the quartet and an appearance by Santa and a pair of live reindeer.