Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrate the City Clock

It may seem odd, given modern-day sensibilities about the separation of church and state, but since 1802, when the church was situated at Second and Partition streets, the city clock--owned and maintained by the City of Hudson--has been located in the tower of the First Presbyterian Church. The following is quoted from a footnote in The History of Columbia County, written by Captain Franklin Ellis and published in 1878:
The city clock was also placed in the tower of this church. In 1801 (August 8) the council resolved "that Mr. Pratt and Reuben Folger be a committee to procure a suitable clock, with three dials, to be placed in the steeple of the Presbyterian meeting-house, and that they be authorized to procure a sum not exceeding $200 on loan for that purpose, to be applied with the sum already subscribed and now in the Bank for that purpose." That committee reported, Oct. 9, 1802, that they had placed the clock in the steeple, agreeably to directions. The cost of clock and dials was $465.28.
The tradition of the city clock in the church tower goes back more than two centuries, but this year--2013--marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Seth Thomas clock that now resides in the tower of the First Presbyterian Church at Warren and Fourth streets. Tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, the Friends of the First Presbyterian Church will be observing the clock's centennial at their annual meeting, which begins at 11 a.m. Mayor William Hallenbeck is expected to be on hand to proclaim the clock's centenary year. There will also be a photo presentation of restoration projects completed during the past year and "an inside perspective on plans and challenges for restoring the Rose Window." The meeting is a great opportunity for people to learn about the efforts being made to preserve this monumental and treasured Hudson building.

Everyone is invited to attend the Friends' annual meeting. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. at the church and is followed by a buffet lunch, provided by The Cascades, in the church narthex. A contribution of $15 is suggested for lunch.


  1. Its great that the clock is finally being wound weekly ... after a few years of DPW neglect.

    Not loving the bright white light "glowing" from the new energy saver bulbs lighting the dials for night viewing. It's harsh and cold.

    Congrats to Hudson for honoring one of her Jewels !

  2. Thank you Vincent, for keeping on top of the DPW to keep the clock wound and accurate.

  3. The Common Council has been bound for as many years to appoint a keeper of the clock. The last man to serve as such was Don Gorsline. Perhaps the mayor can find someone to serve as such and have Aldermen approve that person

  4. The position of "keeper of the clock" pays $800. a year and has been assumed by the Dept of Public Works. Maybe it's time for the Common Council to take back this position. The present "keeper" has been doing a fine job since Skip stepped down.