Purchase of Clock Mechanism Brings Decade-old Clock Tower Dream a Step Closer

Saturday, September 23, 2006


As Corban College's leadership looks toward the future, they’re incorporating a piece of the past. For more than a decade, they’ve planned to adopt the old European clock tower tradition by building a unique mission-themed clock tower in the heart of campus.

Now this long-term goal is one step closer to reality. In September, the college purchased a 110-year-old clock mechanism that will be the main attraction of the tower.

Called by clockmakers a “movement,” this 50" x 24", 250-pound precision machine was built in 1897 in Morez, France. It’s now on display in the main administration building, Schimmel Hall. Descending weights power the movement, which are attached to the top of the clock tower with pulleys. Once in the tower, the weights will complete their drop every two weeks, and must then be hand-cranked back up to the top of the tower.

Tumalo, Ore. resident Lewis Bennett sold the movement to Corban, donating a third of the appraised value to help keep the cost down.

At the same time, architect William Ryals and Vice President for Marketing Steve Hunt conceptualized the clock tower that will eventually house the movement. The details are subject to change as the project progresses, but currently a 45-foot structure is envisioned that will stand in the proposed Psalm Performing Arts Center plaza/courtyard.

Other concepts include four clock faces, each with numerals from a different cultures/eras – universal Asian, Arabic, Roman and Hebrew. At the foot of the tower, a compass rose may be included, indicating north, south, east and west and include the college mission statement.
A decade ago, the college began gathering donations for the clock tower by selling commemorative bricks. The school has saved the names and the funds to apply toward the total cost of the project. That program is being continued and details including ordering information can be found by clicking here.

“Building this clock tower is different than constructing a facility that is more utilitarian. It's designed to make a statement of aesthetics -- like setting aside the time to celebrate an achievement or honor someone who is deserving of our respect,” Hunt says. “In this case we are celebrating what God is accomplishing here at Corban, both now and in the days to come.”

  • Campus Care personnel loading the clock movement in Tumalo, Oregon.  After a full day of work, Corban's clock was safely retrieved and will remain on display until the tower is built.


    Corban's clock mechanism includes time and bell strike functions and will be located at ground level so that it can be viewed by the public. The clock movement is an original mechanism, manufactured in Morez, France (1897) by the renowned French clockmaker L.D. Odobey. It was located through the efforts of a network of clock enthusiasts over the last two years and is considered in excellent condition. When complete, the Psalm Center's new plaza and clock tower with enhance the heart of the campus and draw visitors to the College.

    -- Click here to see how you can become involved in the development of the Clock Tower Plaza

Latest News

Load more news!
View news page