Residents: Time To Save Clock

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 31, 2004

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON - Not everyone is in favor of auctioning off the damaged parts of the town clock, which was severely damaged in a fire in 1990.

That was the message sent at Monday night's selectmen meeting.

Hampton resident Robert Webber voiced his disgust with the board's decision last week to auction off the damaged clock parts to raise enough money to restore the bell and one of the faces of the clock.

The vote came on the heels of the Heritage Commission's recommendation that the cost associated with repairing the entire clock was just to much to bear.

"I was disturbed by the decision by the board," said Webber. "This clock was given to the citizens of Hampton in 1800. It should be their decision to decide the destiny of the clock."

Webber asked the board to reconsider its vote to allow him some time to save the town clock.

Webber, along with former selectman Vic Lessard, Jack Lessard and Jerry Dignam, are forming a committee to raise funds to restore the clock to its original form.

The group recently helped raise money for a new playground at Marston School.

"I'm not here to buy it, I'm here to save it," said Webber. "It can't be sold. This clock is apart of Hampton's heritage. Why would you give up our heritage when we have so little left?"

The group believes that they could restore the clock for $30,000.

The remains of the clock are currently stored in the Town Hall. The parts are being stored inside the original crates the clock came in, in 1897.

After the fire in 1990, the whereabouts of the remains of the clock were not known. They were found shortly after selectmen began pressing as to its whereabouts in 2000.

Webber was one of the residents who fought to find the remains of the clock.

The clock was originally given to the town as a gift in 1897. At the time, the town made a promise to keep the clock in working condition.

Selectman Rick Griffin, who was not present when the vote concerning the clock took place, said he's heard from a lot of residents that were upset about the clock.

Selectman Cliff Pratt, who also serves on the Heritage Commission, made a motion to revisit the board's vote at their next meeting in two weeks.

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