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THE HISTORY OF THE CLOCK TOWER
The Clock Tower was built in 1890 by Architect S. W. Foulke and was remodeled by T.J Collins around 1916. The original purpose for the building was to house the local YMCA, the second of its kind in the state of Virginia. It included a gym, a running track, a lending library and various meeting rooms on the upper floors. In 1914 the YMCA moved their organization to a larger space called the McCormick’s building on Augusta Street.
Over the years retailers have occupied the street level space at the Clock Tower, one of the most noteworthy was Woolworths. This retailer occupied the Clock Tower building from the 1930’s to the early 1980’s. All that remains of their mark in history is the red and silver marquis over the door located on the Central Avenue entrance.
The clock itself was manufactured by the E. Howard Clock Company in Roxbury Massachusetts. This company was found in 1842 and is still in business today. Some of the clocks original components such as the hand winding mechanism and the pendulum have been modernized. However, you will find that much of the clock still has its original parts including the bell that still operates as it did over one hundred years ago.