The Plain City Clocktower has been a cherished community landmark, reminding residents that even amidst change, some things remain the same.
In the early 1900s, when the streets were still dirt, Plain City received the precious gift of "time" through the donation of a magnificent Seth Thomas clock by Samuel Taylor, son of renowned pioneer Richard Taylor. The colossal timepiece, with an original cost of approximately $525.00, quickly became the most memorable landmark in Plain City.
In 1902, a grand festival honored Sam Taylor and officially dedicated the clock. The festivities included the Dublin Cornet Band, Ohio State President Dr. W.O. Thompson as the guest speaker, and a jubilant celebration in the Barto and Keiser building. The clock found its home in this establishment, thanks to the efforts of Earl Scott, a jeweler, and Dr. Cecil Herbert Lucas, a dentist.
Throughout the years, the clocktower building changed hands, starting with Barto and Keiser, who later sold it to the Howland brothers. It continued to serve as Howland Hardware until 1944 when it was purchased by Dewitt Norris. In the 1980s, Perry Yoder and Tim Clay took over the clock's maintenance, faithfully winding it to ensure its proper functioning.
Tragedy struck in 1966 when a tornado damaged the clocktower, requiring extensive repairs. Remarkably, the clock operates without electricity and is calibrated for accuracy using a unique method. Battelle engineer John Wilcox calculated the influence of a penny placed atop the swinging pendulum, and his calculations, along with the pennies, still remain within the clock's mechanisms.
The clocktower holds a special place in the hearts of Plain City residents as a tribute to "Uncle Sammy Taylor," a compassionate and generous man who dedicated himself to helping the needy. When Sammy passed away in 1904, the clock was draped in mourning and stopped at 5 o'clock, the hour of his death, as a mark of reverence.
In 2016, a significant restoration project took place to preserve and enhance the clocktower's historic charm. Capital City Crane of Columbus carefully removed the 16-foot tall, 4,100-pound structure from its perch. After months of repairs and maintenance performed by Tower Clock Co. and Durable Slate, the tower returned to its rightful place in late December. The restoration work involved tuning up the clockworks, repairing the bell, restoring the clock faces, fixing the clock dome, replacing pulleys and cables, and refreshing the tower with a new coat of paint. The restoration cost exceeded $60,000, a testament to the value placed on preserving this beloved landmark.
Looking ahead, the clocktower building will undergo remodeling in 2023-2024 to transform it into an exciting new restaurant space. This development will breathe new life into the building while ensuring the preservation of the clocktower for future generations.
Even today, the clocktower is regarded as a symbol of Plain City's history and community identity. Its likeness can be found in the Village's logo.
Information sourced fromThe Columbus Dispatch, Madison Messenger, and Miriam Beachy.
The clocktower building is located at 101 South Chillicothe Street in the heart of Uptown Plain City.