Letter To The Editor: Historic Clock Tower Needs Community Support

Photo: The clock on top of First Church in Belmont

To the editor:

Over centuries, since the invention of mechanical devices for keeping time, community elders have placed a clock in a prominent building in the village center to announce the local time. This practice traveled from Europe with migrants to North America. In New England, many of the clocks that we see in churches on town greens were bought by town meetings.

In 1889, Belmont’s Town Meeting voted to purchase a clock to be installed in a new church – today, the First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist – being constructed on the Belmont Town Green. That clock is still there, keeping time dependably until the early 2000’s. It stopped only from an accumulation of environmental dust over the years.

Based on several quotes from qualified craftspeople, the cost of the cleaning and renovation of the clock will be about $29,000.

In Autumn 2021, the First Church and the Belmont Citizens Forum teamed up to seek funding to fix the clock.

This past June, Town Meeting appropriated $26,100 in Community Preservation Committee funding for the clock project. None of the funds will end up in the reserves of the church. The money will be paid to contractors and craftspeople who do the work of repairing the clock.

As part of the CPA approval, $2,900 – or 10 percent of the cost of the project – must be raised privately. The church has created a special account to receive community donations to the project cost. The fund has received approximately $1,050 to date.

Please consider contributing to this historic town restoration. Contributions can be made using this link:

Michael Fleming

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