Historic street clock installed near Cary Library

11 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — The nearly 300-pound, 11-foot-high classic town timepiece was installed at the corner of Broadway and Market streets in Houlton on Tuesday morning.

“Within minutes of the clock going in, a cyclist called out, ‘nice clock,’” said Houlton Town Councilor Eileen McLaughlin.

It’s been three years since Bruce Folsom first saw similar street clocks in Portland and thought that Houlton ought to have one, he said.

A member of Odd Fellows, Folsom brought the idea of having a street clock made for Houlton to his lodge, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge Rockabema No. 78.

There was some opposition initially and he dropped the idea, he said. Several months later, a lodge member encouraged Folsom to bring the idea up again. He did and everyone was for it, he said.

“We really wanted to do something for the community that would be a lasting gesture for generations to come,” Folsom said. “I am as proud as I can be. It is really beautiful.”

The next step involved the town manager and presentations to the town council who appointed a clock committee to work out details like location and the timepiece’s appearance. Folsom said he attended the committee meetings.

The skilled artisans of the Electric Time Co. in Medfield, Massachusetts, created the custom timepiece, which was delivered last week, Folsom said. It was originally slated for February delivery, but because the ground was still frozen, they slowed things down, he said.

The clock committee selected a four-face lighted dial clock so people coming from any direction, night or day, could see it. The numbers are represented by Roman numerals, and Houlton is in gold lettering at the top of the clock face.

This elaborate street clock was installed in downtown Houlton on May 23 near the Cary Library. The clock was a gift from the Independent Order of Oddfellows Lodge Rockabema No. 78. (Courtesy: Eileen McLaughlin)

The custom clock cost about $20,000 and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Grand Lodge gave Folsom’s lodge half of the cost, he said.

Houlton’s Department of Public Works and Ray’s Tree Service installed the large black and gold clock on Tuesday.
Folsom said it was not easy to select the location. The library was a good choice because many people congregate in that area and it will preserve the clock’s finish because there is less road salt, he said.

“It fits in very well with the library,” he said.

There will be a dedication ceremony at a later date.