Back In Time: Clock Tower In Downtown Gainesville
GAIENSVILLE - A timepiece of history, visible in downtown Gainesville and ringing on the hour, not many know the history behind this clock tower.
The clock was originally part of the Alachua County's second Courthouse, which was built in 1885 but in 1958 the building was demolished to make way for the current Alachua County Administration Building. However the clock didn't go down with it. It was saved by horologist, Theodore Crom who studied the art of making clocks.
Measuring the past, present and future; if you've been downtown, you've heard it chime, Gainesville's iconic clock tower and it's all thanks to Theodore Crom & his family. World renowned horologist, Crom saved this clock and preserved it. His wife, Winona Crom says the clock was warehoused for more than two decades after it was taken down from the Alachua County's second Courthouse.
"When he brought it home he thought he had a really gold mine you know... That he restored something or found it that was sitting in a warehouse doing nothing," Winona said.
The City of Gainesville proclaimed August 10th Ted Crom day, in recognition for his time, talent and treasure. Saturday the community gathered for the unveiling of the commemorative plaque honoring his name.
Melanie Barr with the Alachua County Historical Commission said, "The only thing we have left today that all of Gainesville can see is the original clock from 1885. So we really have to thank ted for rescuing the clock and saving this little bit of history for us."
For the Crom family, the clock doesn't just represent history but it also played a role in their personal lives.
Brady Crom one of Theodore Crom's sons said, "Before the clock ever working... He worked on it for years and years to get it in working order, but he hung out the bell right away. And when we were out in rattlesnake creek playing in the woods, he'd ring that bell and we'd have to come running or else we paid the price."
Ted & Frank Crom, also Theodore Crom's sons added, "You'd hear it ticking of course but then that's how she used to call us home sometimes, go outside and ring the big bell and that was pretty interesting. We used to have people come and whack the bell and it was sitting in the town just up on blocks and he'd say, "you're not going to help yourself?" and they'd go ohh ohh, cause it weighs I don't know, a couple of tons maybe."
Theodore Crom is famous around the world for his clocks and professionalism. He has written 6 books and is a UF alum.
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