Spurgeon Clocktower Update
In 1992, a group of Citizens enlisted DSABA to help make the clock tower, a top the 1913 Spurgeon Building, operative- it had been stopped presumably by the 1933 earthquake. The energy of Tim Rush, a north end citizen, and member of the Orange County Chapter of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), arranged a 18 month assault.
He garnered the attention of 20 citizen- activists, the DSABA Board, over $200k of labor and material and made the tower into what it is today. Don Krotee and Matt Rogers of DKP served as architects and received a commendation in 1997 from the State of California for their guidance in the project. Tireless pursuit by the Manager of the Downtown Development, Roger Kooi, who died of cancer tragically after the clocks completion, provided the political glue to keep the project both under control and on course to a successful opening.
In our last DOWNTOWN NEWS we reported that the clock of the 1913 Spurgeon building was soon to be rehabilitated. This project reminds me of the Lilliputians building the cart to move Gulliver inland. At time it seems like we have 600 people doing 2 hours worth of very critical work. I always get a call when number 463 get out of line.
The latest heroes are the City Staff who will deliver the permits with the blink of an eye. Thank you Robyn Uptigraf and Roger Kooi.
The greatest care is now being taken to replace a missing worm and pinion gear that is an integral part of the clock movement. The gears are a source of mystery that is part of working on old things. The gears simply just left town during the 1983 rehab of the building and are a major part of the non-working clock. The new gears have been custom made and will be installed this month. The first test of a new specialized motor to turn those gears will also be made this month.
If the clock turns, and keeps near accurate time, the electrical support for the new Carrillion movement will be next. This movement can adjust for accuracy and will provide the annunciation of chimes, which will be again a part of Downtown. To follow this clock fixing are the consortium of architectural things like tricky scaffolding, wash, painting, lighting, and other construction activities.
Mr. Tim Rush of the Orange County Chapter of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) has done the lion share of the clock work as well as subordinate fundraising and tells us that the main gears and the motor will see the tower for the first time this month.
A flag that once flew over the State Capital has been donated and will fly atop the original (but newly painted and permanently lit) flag standard. The Community is excited about the prospect of an April completion and has assembled a Committee to complete the fund raising and to coordinate a celebration. Committee members are Tom Lutz, Tim Rush, Roger Kooi, Mike Metzler, Jose Solorio, Diane Marsh, Gil Marrero and myself. An announcement for an art contest related to the restoration and the commemoration re-opening will be made in next issue.
The Downtown Santa Ana Business Association (DSABA) made possible this project and, as board member we express our thanks to so many in the City and the Community who have helped.
(Downtown Business News, 1996)