Brief History: The Verdin Bell and Clock Company
When two French immigrant brothers, Francis de Sales and Michael Verdin, came to the Cincinnati, Ohio area from Alsace, France in 1835, they were determined to use their iron forging skills to build clocks in America. The two brothers immediately established a tower clock business in the famous “Over-the- Rhine” neighborhood in Cincinnati, where their first documented installation was a clock at Old St. Mary’s Church in 1842.
Six generations and 175 years later, the Verdin Company has grown to become the industry leader in bells, bell equipment, restoration, digital carillons, and clocks.
In 2017, Verdin celebrated its 175th anniversary as a family business. Verdin has over 55,000 installations worldwide and is the oldest privately-held manufacturing business in Ohio.
Source: The Verdin Company (www.verdin.com/about/)
Crooksville’s Verdin Clock History
In 1998, I proposed a ‘sketch’ to then Mayor, Douglas Cannon, to construct a small park on Main Street in honor of Crooksville’s founding father, Jacob Reed. We both thought it was an injustice that Jacob Reed never had a memorial in his honor for establishing our little village, then known as Reed’s Station.
With help from the service department crew, Reed’s Station Park was constructed as a little ‘get away’ park on Main Street complete with a wooden fence, water fountain, brick walkway, and beautiful shrubbery.
During an Ohio Municipal League Conference in 2000, Mayor Cannon and I visited an exhibitor’s booth display by The Verdin Bell and Clock Company. Upon listening to their history and viewing the different variations of clocks, almost simultaneously the idea hit us both that we wanted a downtown Main Street Clock at Reed’s Station Park. We headed back home enthusiastically discussing different ideas of how to raise $15-$20,000 for the clock.
Needless to say, the dream and vision we had for the Verdin clock was overcome by the U.S. Recession of 2001-2002. The economy had declined to the point that there were virtually no grants available, and fundraisers at that time were out of the question.
Full speed ahead to 2017. I never lost ‘our’ vision of someday having a Verdin clock that would be a focal point in the community. It’s the nostalgia, the pride, a throw-back to when people lived in smaller towns and a clock was the anchor of the community.
I approached Council in the fall of 2017 about supporting the purchase of a Verdin clock from our Capital Improvement Fund. Given the history of the clock, as I have here, all were on board with a little arm twisting.
Within a week, I met with a Verdin representative to pick one of the various sizes and numerous options available. Once submitted to the factory for build, Verdin invited all public officials to take a tour of their factory in Cincinnati. In April 2018, Mayor Redfern, Councilman Locke and I accepted their invitation and made the trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. The tour was quite an experience and included first row seats observing their team melt the metal and pour the bronze commemorative ‘Flying Pig Marathon’ bell. Quite an experience!
We toured every stage in the clock making process from start to finish. Crooksville’s clock at that time was in the painting stage and went from there to final assembly.
Crooksville’s clock was delivered and installed on July 13, 2018.
Tom Collins, Administrator