Telling Time

Postcards and photo: CrazyasaCoolFox
Last week I featured an authentic New England white clapboard church in my Sepia Saturday post. This week I have another one a bit closer to home. In fact I attended this church as a child.

This is the East Parish United Methodist Church in Salisbury, Massachusetts. It was built in 1834 by, as legend has it, workers who were offered a barrel of rum as payment. I guess rum was good to barter with in those days.

The unique feature is the clock. It is actually owned by the town and funds are still appropriated for it's maintainence. This is one last vestage of when parishes were set up in Massachusetts Bay Colony and became an official state church.

The clock face is not made up up numbers, either Arabic or roman, but made up of letters. They spell out "MEMORIALGIFT." I've seen this on a few other public clocks as well. The church owned bell above is connected to the timing mechanism and strikes out the hour and half hour.

Some time in the 1960's someone got the bright idea of changing the colour arrangement from a black face with white letters to white face with black letters. Many people even then used the town clock as their main source of time. This caused a huge uproar not only among the church members but other townsfolk as well. Apparently there wasn't enough black paint for the dial so the painter covered it in white. Then outlined the letters and clock hands in black.

church steeple clock faceThat configuration remained till the 1990's, when steeple had developed a bit of a lean to the east. It was removed and set upon the ground next to the church. It was an amazing sight to see it's massive structure up close.  A renovation project was taken up to strengthen the church structure to hold the weight of the steeple as well as refurbish the steeple and clockworks. When the project was completed and steeple reattached, the clock face was black as it was and the letters and hands were gold.

Today the steeple stands straight and tall, and the clock face can be seen from all over town.
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