Thursday, February 24, 2011

$40K would restore historic Westwood bell and clockworks

The Westwood Historical Society is hoping to raise $40,000 to save a key piece of neighborhood history.

The Historic Village of Westwood School Bell and Clockworks, purchased in 1894 by Casimir Werk and cast by the VanDuzen/Buckeye Bell Company, were removed from the Westwood School prior to Cincinnati Public Schools' (CPS) $14.4 million renovation project.

A fully restored bell and clockworks would be displayed in the building's foyer when it opens in early 2012.

The bell and clockworks occupied the bell tower of the original village school, built in 1870 on the site at Harrison, Montana and Epworth avenues.

In 1909, thirteen years after the village was annexed to the City of Cincinnati, the current school was built by CPS and the bell and clockworks moved to the new building.

"We have few historic artifacts from the days of the Village of Westwood, before annexation," says Westwood Historical Society president Liz Kissel. "One major reason the village was even incorporated was so people in the community could have better control of the education of their children. One of the first things they did was start their own school so the bell and clockworks are an important part of Westwood history."

Funding would be used to have the bell refurbished; a new stand constructed; the clockworks cleaned, repainted and working; and a new clock face fabricated.

"We can take some options off the table if we raise less, like cleaning up the works but not have them operational, etc.," Kissel says.

Donations can be made on the society's website.

Approximately $5,000 has been raised to date, and Kissel says that they'd like to have a significant amount of the fundraising completed by this fall.

"So far we've only been announcing it through the Historical Society and other community groups but want to get the word out to former students, staff, and others who have ties to the school or just Westwood in general," she says.

Photos courtesy of the Westwood Historical Society

Previous reading on BC:
Decisions made on four CPS projects (10/20/09)