Historian's gift of a clock a step back in time for Great Barrington

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GREAT BARRINGTON — More than 100 years ago, there was a large metal clock sitting at the corner of Railroad and Main streets.

Now thanks to local historian James Mercer, there's one there again.

Not the same one, and actually on the other side of the street, Mercer said. In the 19th century, he said, there were passenger trains passing through the train station at the top of Railroad Street.

"So obviously, people were happy to have a clock at the bottom of the street, when they needed to catch a train" he said.

The new clock, built by a Michigan company that specializes in such timepieces, sits atop a 12-foot metal stand. It is in the shape of a large, golden pocket watch.

Mercer, a longtime local history aficionado, reported that he paid for the purchase and installation of the clock. He declined to divulge the cost of the project.

The reconstruction work on Main Street was the ideal time to put the clock up, he said. Mercer worked with the town and the state Department of Transportation to set it all up.

"The most gratifying thing for me is that people are always stopping and taking pictures of it," he said. "It's caused quite a buzz downtown."

Barbara Watkins, owner of Evergreen Fine American Crafts, located across Main Street, said any comments she's heard have been "pretty positive."

"I think it was a really nice gesture on Jim's part," she said.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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