Sewickley Town Clock

Sewickley's most visible landmark is the town clock in the steeple of the United Methodist Church. Located in the geographic center of Sewickley Borough, it has been marking time since 1884.

Town Clock, Photo by George S. Gaadt

This classic timepiece was purchased in 1883 from the E. Howard Clock Co. of Boston, suppliers of tower clocks throughout the United States. The bell in the tower was purchased from Clinton H. Meneely and Co., Troy, N.Y. Cost of the timepiece and the bell was $1067.

When first installed, the clock was operated by weights that were cranked up manually once a week. In 1919, when AC current became available, it was converted to electricity. Night illumination was installed in 1949.

In 1953, when Sewickley Borough assumed responsibility for maintenance, it became the official town clock. New dials replaced the originals, and the tower was sheathed in aluminum. Lost in the process were the turrets in the high steeple.

Methodist Church

A major renovation was completed in 1996 with funds raised by a committee led by Thomas Wright. This $350,000 project was supported by donations from church members and hundreds of citizens of Sewickley and surrounding communities. In this renovation, the charming details of the tower and steeple were replaced.

The steeple of the Methodist Church rises to 172 ft and has been struck by lightning many times. In the process of modernization in 1996, a manually actuated sprinkler system was installed.

The clock was first lighted in 1949. Except for the period 1950-1953, the clock and bell have operated 24 hours a day since 1884 with only occasional interruptions.

The E. Howard Clock Co. sold tower clocks all over the United States. They were installed in courthouses, public schools, churches, train stations and places of commerce. In Western Pennsylvania, they were installed in the county court houses of Lawrence and Butler counties and St. Stanislaw's Roman Catholic Church, Pittsburgh. The famous clock at Kaufmann's, a popular meeting place of generations of Pittsburghers, was installed by Howard. The Howard Company discontinued tower clock manufacturing in 1964.

- B.G.Y.S.

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