ELMIA, N.Y. (WETM) – A $3.5 million renovation is underway to fix the City Hall Clock Tower, which was built in 1895. Thursday afternoon, crews could be seen finishing the installation of scaffolding around the clock tower. Kyle Sullivan, the director of the Department of Buildings & Grounds told 18 News the clock itself hasn’t worked since 2017. The hands are stuck at 12:26. Once the clock is fixed, you won’t hear it chime on the hour because it has no bell.
As for the exterior of the clock, the City says it will be entirely renovated. Crews will be replacing brick and mortar and terra cotta. New copper roof accents and decorative finishes will be added. The entire structure will also be weather-proofed. The City says the work is being done by Lupini Construction from Utica, New York. The project is being overseen by Foor & Associates, an architectural firm based in Elmira.
The total cost of the project will be $3.5 million. In an email to 18 News, City Manager Michael Collins said $2.9 million is coming from federal Covid-19 funds. Mr. Collins said $600,000 is coming from a grant. City Hall was designed by the architectural duo Pierce & Bickford. The Chemung County Historical Society says Joseph H. Pierce and Hiram H. Bickford designed and renovated hundreds of commercial buildings, public buildings and homes in the Southern Tier. Their works mainly featured an Italian renaissance style.
“They were in business from 1890 to 1932,” said Rachel Dworkin, the archivist at the Chemung County Historical Society. They designed and renovated literally hundreds of buildings throughout the Twin Tiers. They did City Hall. They did the Maxwell Place fire station. They did the YMCA building. They did the original Steele Memorial Library. They did the Iszard’s building. They actually did this building here in 1902. They renovated it added in these vaults and created a new entrance floor. They did at least 20 homes. So, there’s a lot of their work in Elmira that is still standing.”
You can watch the full interview with archivist Rachel Dworkin below: