BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Babylon Village clock has chimed and ticked above the historic village for 144 years — and now it needs some love and care.
For the first time in years, the clock in the church steeple overlooking Main Street, is without a caretaker.
Babylon Village Mayor Ralph Scordino talks about what the caretaker’s job entails, CBS2′ Jennifer McLogan reported Friday.
“He has to adjust weights twice a month to make sure that it keeps time,” Scordino said. “Very complicated and if you have ever been up there, you get claustrophobic.”
It was 1871 when A.S. Hotchkiss sold the famed hand-crafted tower clock to Babylon Village after residents raised $650 to purchase it.
It’s one of only six in the entire country and the Historical Society says it has been an object of civic pride ever since.
“They say lightening can’t strike twice,” said Babylon Village building inspector Stephen Fellman. “It did. It struck this steeple twice. The first one resulted in a major fire, and had to rebuild the steeple. But the clock made it through, then we had Hurricane Sandy.”
When Sandy hit and the clock watcher retired, the village asked the First Presbyterian Church to take over custody.
“We would love to find somebody who could maintain the clock,” Deacon Judy Skillen said. “Yes, by hand. Our fear though is that it is a lost art.”
The church wants a caretaker with mechanical knowledge of pulleys, gears and calibrating dials — and someone without a fear of heights.
Skillen believes the clock will run forever if properly maintained.
Others agree they would be heartsick if the historic clock’s inner workings are replaced with an electrical motor.
The church is now looking into installing an “automatic” winder. Although the clock would still need regular maintenance, no would would have to climb up five stories to the steeple.