Moose Jaw’s 109-year-old city hall clock will be undergoing renovations this summer.
Through the city’s Heritage Advisory Committee and City Council, a budget of $55,400 was approved to fix up the clock face and refurbish the clock hands. The project is expected to be completed by the end of summer, weather permitting.
“There are 97 individually custom-cut pieces of stainless glass back from when it was original and over time, due to damage, has been replaced with the old dull plexiglass that you kind of see up there. It's cracking and falling apart. It was due for, no pun intended, a facelift,” said the city’s operations manager Cory Oakes.
The clock hands are being removed, hand sanded and repainted.
Meanwhile, the clock face will be replaced with stainless glass, as it was originally intended, with a ballistic coating.
“There is not really any room to modernize, so we're going with that same stainless glass opalescent, same kind of marbling and everything that goes along with that,” Oakes explained, saying they wanted to keep the heritage of the clock by keeping it era-specific.
The Roman numerals on the clock will remain black, while the rest of the framing will be painted gold.
Oakes shared some of the history of the clock.
“The clock tower itself and the building were built between 1911 and 1914. It officially opened in 1914 and it was a post office for the City of Moose Jaw, and then it turned into the RCMP station and then in 1963 it became City Hall,” he said.
The clock is a hand-wound turret that requires winding approximately every 14 days. The mechanisms and gears are still era-specific, were restored in 2014 and remain in working order.
According to the original sales ledger, the clock was one of 50 of its kind that was sold to Public Works, Canada between 1912 and 1920.
It's believed that the clock was installed by local watchmakers and jewellers from Wilson and Maybee. The clock was manufactured in England by Smith and Sons, which still exists today as Smith of Derby.
A ledger dated Oct. 24, 1913, says the bell and clock were shipped overseas on the SS Tunisian from Liverpool to Montreal and then by CP Rail to Moose Jaw.
The clock was purchased for £209.10 with shipping costs of £20.60.
The next project is to assess the exterior of the clock tower and look at the logistics to safely get the bell operational again. The outside of the clock tower will be pressure washed and assessed for damage.
The clock’s bronze-cast bell is currently not operational. The bell weighs approximately 800 lbs and its housing is all original timber.
Below, Photos 1 to 4 courtesy Crystal Froese/Facbook, Photos 5 and 6 by Shawn Slaght, Discover Moose Jaw