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February 23, 2013

E'town clock, bell to be replaced

Local man donates money in honor of late wife

ELIZABETHTOWN — Much like the timepiece in the song “My Grandfather’s Clock,” the one overlooking the community here has tick-tocked for almost 90 years. 

But its time is running out for the clock and bell in the tower of the United Church of Christ.

Melvin “Stubby” Longware has donated half the total $18,500 replacement cost for them, including all applicable mechanisms and timers. 

It is hoped the remaining $9,250 — along with the cost for required carpentry and electrical work — will be covered by other donations and perhaps fundraisers.

Over the years, Longware and his late wife, Gretna, made numerous contributions to the church and town. 

“Any way I can help, I do,” Mr. Longware said. “Gretna was a big supporter of the church and town, and in a way, this honors her memory and is a way of thanking the town, which has been a part of my family for generations, going back to my grandparents.”

’COURAGEOUS SPIRITS’

Though the clock sits in the church tower, it was intended for the whole community by benefactor Cora Putnam Hale. 

When it was dedicated, according to a report in the Nov. 23, 1928, edition of a Keeseville newspaper, “a simple but very impressive ceremony” was held at the High School auditorium (now the Adirondack History Museum), located across the street from the (Church of Christ). 

”At the November ceremony, many citizens of the town were present, and the various grades of the public school attended in a body.”

The gifts memorialized Hale’s parents, Herbert Asa and Celintha Theresa Putnam. 

“May the striking of this clock inspire all who hear with something of their fine and courageous spirits,” says a plaque honoring the Putnams.

At the dedication, Hale spoke of her parents, and Elizabethtown Mayor C.O. Metcalf accepted the gift on behalf of the town. School Principal Mr. Kilkaenny indicated the “pleasure and appreciation of the public schools in having near them this permanent and guiding timepiece.” 

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