British Columbia

Cranbrook clock tower parts in good hands with history society

Hopefully this story won't grind your gears: the Cranbrook History Centre is the new owner of the gears from the clock in downtown Cranbrook.

Volunteer says clock parts have a lot of history in a town that hasn't preserved history well

The Cranbrook clock tower as it appears today. This tower is actually a reconstruction of the original, and was built in the 1980s. (David Humphrey)

The Cranbrook History Centre is thrilled about the latest addition to their collection: the gears from the clock in downtown Cranbrook.

According to volunteer Dave Humphrey, the clock parts have quite a bit of history behind them.

He says the clock tower, built between 1911 and 1912, was originally part of a post office, which was demolished in 1971. The city was offered the building for use as a library, which it declined.

"They were also offered the internal clock parts, which they turned down," Humphrey told Radio West host Rebecca Zandbergen. "Fortunately, the fellow who was demolishing the post office decided to protect the clock parts. He covered them in grease, and stored them out at Fort Steele."

"And then, in the 1980s, the local Rotary Club decided to rebuild a clock tower downtown … and re-install the clock parts in the clock tower."

Because winter weather caused some problems for the mechanical parts, the clock was switched over to an electronic system. However, the mechanical parts are still in the tower, and the history centre can wind up the mechanism for tour groups.

Humphrey says Cranbrook doesn't have a very good track record when it comes to preserving it's history, so the clock parts are special.

"The importance of the clock is it's within six years of the incorporation of Cranbrook, and we have very few things in Cranbrook that are that old and left for us to appreciate," he said. "I'm really pleased [the parts] will be protected for the future of Cranbrook citizens."

The original clock tower, built into the old post office. The clock tower and post office were demolished in 1971. (David Humphrey)

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Cranbrook clock tower parts still tickin' after history group takes them


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.