Repairs Begin On Gainesville’s Historic Downtown Clock

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The Historic Seth Thomas clock in Downtown Gainesville is finally being repaired.

The clock, located at East University Avenue and NE First Street, stopped ticking on June 25 because of a leaking roof and a lack of maintenance.  The clock’s metal linings were wearing out. 

At first, the clock would chime at improper times. Eventually, the gears started binding, and the clock would periodically stop. City of Gainesville officials reached out to carpenter Fred North to fix it. 

North decided to stop the clock altogether until something could be done.  It has taken about eight months to begin the project.

“I am eligible to retire next February, and I wanted it to be up and running before I leave,” North said. 

North believes the project is important for two reasons.

It’s a tool for residents of Gainesville, he said. North said the homeless community is especially affected, because the clock serves as their primary means to know the time.

The clock is also deeply rooted in Gainesville’s history. It was in Alachua County’s original wooden courthouse that was built in 1884.  The city demolished the courthouse in 1958, but horologist Theodore Crom saved the clock.

“The clock was always in my house as a kid – mom would ring the bell when it was dinner time,” Theodore Crom’s son, Ted Crom, said. 

Ted Crom’s father restored the clock in 1983, and it resumed its service to the city of Gainesville.  Today, Crom is working alongside North and his team to fix the clock. 

“It needs some love, and we’re going to give it that. This clock is an art piece that holds our community together with history,” Crom said.

North explained that the copper from the leaky roof has been replaced, and that the clock is going to be taken to another location for repairs.

“We’ve got it under control and taken care of,” North said.

He said the clock should be back to its normal state in the next few months.

About Laura Peavler

Laura is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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