Looking Back 143 Years Text Size

Sitting high above the historic Holyoke City Hall, the clock tower’s four 8-foot Belgium milk glass panels light up the night’s sky. If you live nearby like Theresa Cooper-Gordon, you can see the time from your front porch. 

After thirty years of dormancy, an Arborist, David Cotton of Northampton, brought the clock back to life. For the past three months, after his day time job, Dave would don his overalls and climbing gear and head to Holyoke.

Having never fixed a tower clock before, Dave enlisted the help and guidance from a local UMass English professor, John Nelson, who worked on the clock of the Old Chapel in Amherst, MA. Westhampton resident Davis Goddard, a retired engineer, also offered his more than 40 years of clock experience. And then, there were the dedicated people in City Hall who spent countless hours helping clean up, organize, and assist as needed.

Dave took a look back at our ancestors and how they built quality into our society. He believes that many people today have benefited from the resourcefulness, and ingenuity that was passed along and now, we have it built into us. To that end, Dave and his team tried to keep the integrity of the facility as historically correct as possible. The repair to the clock and all it’s ‘moving’ parts puts it at 95% of the original, right down to having the original lock sets from 1875 that secured the tower repaired to their original state, along with the skeleton keys.

“I can’t thank Dave and his team enough for their work that has led to this historic clock being brought into operation for the first time in decades. When he approached me about this project, offering to volunteer his own time and money to see it through, we were very excited,” said Mayor Morse.

At a ceremony held at The Mayor’s Office, Dave was presented with a proclamation announcing August 27th as Dave Cotton day in the City of Holyoke. The Mayor also presented Dave a key to the city, the highest honor offered from the Mayor’s Office.

Dave is not done yet, there are plans to restore the 1875, 2.5 ton bell in the bell tower.  When in operation, the clock tower bell would toll to signal the hour of the day.


Posted on August 29, 2018 by