The original clock was purchased for $1,800 in 1910 when the First National Bank building went up.
In 1939 the Conrad Production Credit Association (PCA) moved into the building and kept the old clock running.
Nevertheless, time and elements took their toll and a hail storm in August of 1958 damaged the clock.
Despite attempts to fix the clock, it didn’t work and no longer kept accurate time. The relic time piece was hauled down and went to the farm of Steve Preputin.
Through the effort of many dedicated folks, the original timepiece has been restored and Thursday afternoon, it was once again hung in its original place. History has come back alive!
Thursday when the first section of the clock was installed, a crowd who had gathered to watch cheered, whistled and yelled their approval.
The clock weighs in at over 500 pounds and a core of 15 volunteers spent over 1,200 hours restoring a big part of Conrad’s history. There are over 660 pieces of glass on the four sides of the clock which is some 12-feet high.
Technology can be a wonderful thing and today, the clock has been wired so that it can be programmed to change time from a keyboard at the Wiegand Auditorium/Orpheum Theatre. It can also be programmed to play seasonal music.
Following is a schedule of events for the Centennial Celebration.
On Friday, the opening ceremony takes place at the corner of 4th Ave. and Main St. with a formal dedication of the clock, from 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.
The Shooting Sport Club is having a pulled pork dinner with two sides and dessert at the Meadowlark School, 17 3rd SW from 5-7 p.m. The dinner is only $5 and proceeds go to the Shooting Sports Club.
Bingo will be played at the Horizon Lodge from 7-9 p.m. and at the other side of town, from 8-9 p.m. in Norley Hall, the Pondera History Association will have a special Happy Hour with hors d’oeuvres and great piano music by Bernice Paisley who will be wearing an original, we are told, “flapper” dress.
From 9-midnight, there will be 100 of music and dance. It is $15 a single and $20 per couple and everyone is asked to dress up in a decade garb of their choice.
On Oct. 2 the Conrad Centennial Celebration will get under way with the dedication of the old town clock. The dedication will bring over 30 months of time and 1,200 man hours to fruition.
Standing over 11 and a half feet tall, over 42 inches wide and weighing nearly 800 pounds, the clock is quite the spectacle. Inside are four different clock faces with individually cut glass for each. The face itself contains over 600 pieces of leaded glass.
The clock used to be lit with incandescent light bulbs, but now is powered with state of the art fluorescent lighting.
The clock also contains a speaker system with a music chip that can play up to 300 different tunes depending on the occasion.
The town clock was originally built in 1927 at a cost of $1,400 and built by McClintock Clock Company. It sat at the First National Bank for 30 years.
The McClintock Clock Company was founded 1908 and in business until 1950. Based out of Minneapolis they specialized in clocks for banks and other financial institutions usually with an outside mounted fancy clock for public viewing, often displaying the institution name along with dials made up of fancy leaded glass.
The clock sat at the bank until 1956 when a storm of golf-ball sized hail badly damaged it. The original clock was replaced in 1958 with another clock, be it not as detailed.
After its removal the clock sat at Dick Preputin’s farm for nearly 50 years. In the late nineties a few community minded citizens, led by Francis Erickson and Harold Olson got the idea to restore the clock back to its natural beauty and rightful place of prominence.
After many fund-raising efforts like the “Save the Clock” initiative and generous donations from numerous community members and former community members, the $9,000 it would cost for the restoration was collected.
15 community members have donated their time to help with the project. Harold Olson commented, “Whenever we really needed some help, there were always people willing to donate their time and give us a hand.”
While almost all of the restoration has been done in the community, a few pieces had to be completed elsewhere. For example, Robert Butts in Minnesota, a tinsmith who restores McClintock clocks as a hobby made the arm covers.
When the clock is put in place atop the Production Credit Services at the corner of 4th and Main, it will be shielded by Plexi-glass to protect it from nature, and general wear and tear.
Olson talks about what the clock will mean to Conrad, “Every town has something to be proud of, be it a moniker or a landmark. Well now Conrad has the Clock. Hopefully people will come off the interstate to see it and while they’re here they will stay to see the rest of the city.”
You will need a GPS devise to Geocaching, which is a worldwide scavenger hunt where people find caches using GPS.
Following are some the cashes that will be set for Saturday;
Lugnite N48.10.203 W 111.56.668, “3r’s#1” N 48.10.128 W 111.56.930, “Building Blocks” N 48.09.809 W111.56.929, “City Limits” N48.10.058 W111.57.573, “3r’s #2” N 48.10.311 W 111.56.850, and “Pre-Conrad” N 48.10.000 W111.56.304 .
When you find a cache, sign the log book and if you have something to trade, exchange for one of the items in the cache.
Happy hunting with technology and have fun learning some history of Conrad.
Street blocked for celebration
Motorists need to be aware that on Friday and Saturday, parts of Main St. and 4th Ave. will be blocked off for the Conrad Centennial Celebration.
Friday, parts of 4th Ave. and Main St. will be blocked off for the dedication of the clock, from about 5 to 6:15 p.m.
If you park your car on Main St. for the parade on Saturday, you are asked to remove it immediately after the parade because the 300-400 blocks are going to be roped off for the Auto Show and vendors.