Historic clock rings in New Year in Rugby

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 7:13 PM CST
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RUGBY, N.D (KMOT) – Most of us tell time by glancing at our cell phones. But the town of Rugby has taken a step back in time to revive community spirit.

Anyone who drives through downtown Rugby literally passes time.

The historic Brown Street Clock is ticking once again.

“It keeps perfect time. It’s so awesome,” said Joseph Bischoff, a lifelong resident in Rugby.

Bischoff said he can remember when this was the center of attention in Rugby in the early 1900s.

Now a new generation is chiming in to make it the centerpiece of the town once again.

Shane Engeland, the executive director of Prairie Village Museum, says the clock was dismantled in the 1970s and stored inside and displayed in front of the museum for many decades.

“Hundreds of man-hours and thousands of dollars went into making this clock part of Rugby again and he’s hoping it’ll be there for quite some time,” said Engeland.

Five years ago, it was decided the old timepiece needed to be restored and now the clock is running better than ever with a few modern features.

“We actually outfitted this with LED tape lighting on the inside of it and it actually can color change and we can dim it down, so we can change the color of the light for different times of the year,” said electrician Brad Wrangler.

For the holidays, the clock has been lit up like a Christmas Tree and the town has hosted a hot chocolate sale and held an event featuring photos with Santa.

It took a while for the clock to resurface from storage, but thanks to all the restoration that’s been done, this historic timepiece won’t be reset for at least another generation.

“The plan is to have it stay here for the next 100 years,” said Hubert Seiler, board member of Prairie Village Museum.

Seiler said community members hope the Brown Street Clock is just the start of more development that leads to increased interest in the downtown district.

Engeland says his research indicates the Brown Street Clock, which went up on Rugby’s Main Street in 1909, could have been the first community clock in North Dakota.