HUDSON: Ten-year-old Erik Block learned that timing is everything.
The fifth-grader managed to snag one of just 90 tickets made available on Sunday to walk up inside Hudson’s historic clock tower on the village green.
“It was like really cool,” Block said. “The chimes went off when I was there so I got to see how it works.”
His father, Mike, said his son was lucky. His mother, who hadn’t arrived yet, “will be real disappointed because they sold out,” he said.
Sunday’s tours were part of a celebration of the clock tower’s 100th birthday organized by the Hudson Heritage Association, which is marking its own 50th anniversary. The 44-foot, 9-inch-high tower, a landmark in Summit County, was put up in 1912 by Hudson philanthropist James W. Ellsworth.
The tickets went fast. The 10-minute tours — limited to five people at a time — started at 2 p.m. and by 2:15, all tickets, at $5 apiece, for the rest of the afternoon were gone. (Admission to the rest of the celebration was free.)
“It’s definitely the icon of the town,” said Katie Coulton, a member of the heritage association and chairwoman of Sunday’s event.
Coulton sees the clock tower almost every day: Her women’s clothing and accessories store, the Grey Colt, is directly across the street.
The tower was decorated with a giant blue and white gingham bow that Coulton made in her kitchen.
Work started on the celebration early this year, Coulton said.
“We just wanted an old-fashioned picnic and a reason for people to come back and enjoy the green,” she said. The heritage association didn’t want a “big production” but instead went for “sort of a small- town feeling,” she said.
Tables were set out on the green where people could sit, chat and eat assorted cakes, pies and cupcakes baked for the occasion. One group of women made a tall cake clock tower that was displayed prominently at the baked goods table.
A three-person combo played light music during the comfortable, fall-like sunny day. Various local paintings that depicted the tower were put up for auction. A large photographic display showed the history of the tower and the growth of Hudson around the green.
Coulton noted that she has never been in the tower herself. “I’ll get another opportunity,” she said.
Dennis and Betsy Caric were among the first people to go up inside the tower. They’ve been Hudson residents for about five years.
“I love mechanical things,” Dennis Caric said. “I’ve been wanting to see the mechanics since I’ve been here.”
He said he liked seeing how the motorized weights move the hands. In the tower’s early years, people had to go inside daily to adjust 3,000 pounds of weights to keep the clock and chimes operating. Part of the clock tower’s inner mechanism was electrified decades ago.
The narrow stairwell meant the visitors had to navigate carefully going up and down, the couple said. The heritage association had a couple of people inside who explained the tower’s history and how the clock works.
“The clock tower is wonderful,” Betsy Caric said. “It still works.”
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.