CHRISTIANSTED – Historic E. Howard Tower Clock, Dials, and Bell to be restored to full operation
Beginning July 23, 2015, the National Park Service will begin the delicate process to restore the Steeple Building tower clock. NPS has contracted with NCG, Inc. from Hampton, Virginia to undertake the repair and restoration of the clock mechanism for the 1920s era E Howard Time and Strike Tower clock Model 0. The project will return clock, stand, clock tower dials, and bronze bell and striker to fully functional and operational condition. The E. Howard Tower Clock is located in the Steeple Building, part of the former Lutheran Church. The building is a National Historic Landmark within the Christiansted National Historic Site, Christiansted, St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands. This high profile asset is an important community symbol. NPS anticipates that the Tower Clock project will be completed in “time” for the 2017 Transfer Day Centennial Ceremony, March 31, 2017.
The E. Howard Time and Strike clock was given to the town in 1923 by the U. S. Navy shortly after the island was purchased by the United States from Denmark. The E. Howard Clock Company manufactured tower clocks for more than one hundred years, longer than any other tower clock manufacturer in America. E. Howard Company was known for their high quality clocks, affordable by only wealthier cliental. Howard’s tower clocks were of the highest quality time keepers ever manufactured in America and were produced in several sizes and styles. The E. Howard Watch & Clock Company was formed on December 1, 1881. The company is now defunct and these clocks are no longer manufactured which makes the clock a unique, historically significant and irreplaceable park asset.
NCG, Inc. machinery specialists and clock restoration specialist Rick Robinson have undertaken a historically accurate restoration of the E. Howard Time and Strike Tower clock. The team will begin the installation of the restored clock August 1-5, 2016. During the installation the Steeple Building will be closed to the public. We will be conducting training for persons interested in volunteering to be “Time Keepers” to work with NPS to maintain and wind the clock on a weekly basis. There are two training sessions currently planned for August 4th and 5th, depending upon the completion of the clock installation; specific times will be announced. If you are interested in volunteering to be a Time Keeper please contact NPS Interpretive Ranger Benito Vegas (340-773-1460 x 233) or Chief of Resource Management Zandy Hillis-Starr (340-773-1460 x 235).
We want to thank our partners at V. I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources VI State Historic Preservation Office for their E. Howard Clock parts that help with the clock restoration project. Following the completion of these repairs all parts of both clocks will be kept as part of NPS Christiansted museum collection.
For questions please contact Zandy Hillis-Starr (340-773-1460 x 235). www.nps.gov/CHRI