The clock was removed during renovations to the visitor centre. Photo submitted

The clock was removed during renovations to the visitor centre. Photo submitted

A new downtown clock for Princeton will take time

Mayor suggests community fundraising may be an option

Downtown Princeton has lost one of its iconic characters.

The town clock, which was erected in 1957, was removed recently during the renovations of the Visitors Centre on Bridge Street.

“It’s always been part of our lives. It’s been multi-generational now actually,” said Mayor Spencer Coyne.

“I miss it. I still look up for it when I drive by.”

On the other hand, he conceded, the clock hadn’t worked for at least six months before it was carted away and final attempts to repair it were unsuccessful.

“But it was right twice a day.”

After six decades very little of the clock was original, noted Coyne. The face was replaced and repainted at least once, and the hands, once they deteriorated, were replaced with pieces from old town street signs.

The clock was originally purchased by Hugh Miller’ family, after he passed away more than 60 years ago. It was first located in front of the post office, and then moved to its most recent location when town hall was opened at what is now the visitor centre.

The municipality agreed to maintain the clock for the Miller family, and Coyne’s father Bob Coyne was tasked with that responsibility as part of the works crew.

Whenever the clock “had issues we would take it down, clean it up, fix it up. We hired different guys, with cranes, and some of them never charged us for it because it was the town clock.”

“The community took (emotional) ownership. It’s been an intregal part of our community for a long, long time,” said Coyne, who is Area H director for the RDOS. “The town made sure it was looked after and I did the work on it for many years.”

The clock, quite literally, ran out of time.

“Just wear and tear,” said Bob. “It’s done its job and it’s time to move on but it was a neat part of our community.”

The clock was so old it would be impossible to find parts to repair it at this point, he added.

The mayor said he expects the clock will be replaced, once funds can be budgeted for that purpose.

He also suggested the community might want to fundraise for a new clock.

“I’d like to see a good old-fashioned analog clock, a two-sided clock this time, so you can see it from both sides of the street.”

Related: Princeton business owners already applying for improvement grants

Related: Princeton to get five more bronze sculptures

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