Letters to the Editor

November 25, 2017
By

Valuable members

To the Editor:

As a recent candidate for city councilor, District 2, I am well aware of the many requirements, deadlines and protocols that running for office entails.

Through all of this, city clerk Jeannette Cintron and assistant city clerk Patricia Lewis were always available to ensure compliance with all aspects of the election.

They and their staff are indeed very valuable members of the team that city manager Tom Ambrosino has assembled to ensure the smooth operation of our city government. They are to be commended.

Very truly yours,

Attorney

Olivia Anne Walsh

 

Loss of Chelsea Clock building a loss of national proportions

The recent demolition of the original Chelsea Clock building should leave anyone with respect for U.S. history disheartened. Founded by Joseph Eastman, a tremendously talented inventor, the building he constructed in 1896 at 284 Everett Ave. at the corner of Fifth Street was first known as the Boston Clock Co. Mr. Eastman’ s dream however quickly went into bank foreclosure after he was unable to fulfill its outstanding liens. In 1897, Mr. Charles Pearson became president of what is still known today as the Chelsea Clock Co. The business became famous worldwide for Walter Menn’s invention of Chelsea’s Ship’s bell clock and gained the moniker “Timekeepers of the sea.” U.S. Government and Military contracts with all branches of the service were one of Chelsea Clock’s mainstays.

From prior to WW1 through WW2, Korea and the Vietnam war era Chelsea Clocks and their precision instruments were on board all Naval and Coast Guard ships, and used on military bases and facilities throughout the world, they where also used on Maritime vessels in Lighthouses and shipyards. Chelsea Clock operated 24 hours a day in wartime and their clocks and instruments built in adherence to strict government standards, for which it received several awards of excellence. Presidents from Harry Truman on, celebrities such as Elvis Presley, foreign dignitaries worldwide, all owned Chelsea Clocks, and many are still displayed in rooms of the White House.

This venerable building, which stood proudly for 120 years also survived multiple major fires in many businesses that stood in close proximity of it, including two conflagrations in 1908 and 1973 – both of which nearly destroyed the entire city.

It also withstood a flood in 1909 and interior flooding due to burst water pipes more recently. A fire in a storage area in the 1980s destroyed irreplaceable parts and records. Only through the quick action and temerity of long time employee John McCarthy’s in activating its exterior sprinkler system saved the building from its demise. On a personal level, I wish more could have done to preserve this building, which had more of continual and storied history than any other in the city. I am also keenly aware that the site had issues. However many buildings having similar issues and have been preserved and converted.

For anyone interested in reading a thorough and complete history, the book ‘Chelsea Clock Company, The first Hundred years’ is a must read. Brothers Andrew and David Demeter’s work deserves accolades for the extraordinary efforts in research and archiving. At the end of the day, however, it has been the strong business acumen and skilled work of hundreds of people, many of whom have been there for decades, that have been the company’s saviors for the last 120 years. It’s through their passion and efforts that the Chelsea Clock Co. has earned its undeniable success as the last American clock company and producers of millions of the finest clocks in the world.

People such as its current President, J.K. Nicholas, Vice President Bruce Mauch and Master Clockmaker Jean Yeo and its entire staff will assuredly carry on its incredible history from its renovated state of the art facility at 101 Second St. right here in it’s hometown of Chelsea.

Richie Smith


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