By Jennifer Myers
First off, full disclosure: I have chickened out four times over the last four years when presented with the opportunity to climb up into Lowell City Hall’s clock tower.
Recently, I made the decision I had to do it and if I waited any longer I may never have the opportunity again. No risk, no reward. So today, instead of taking a lunch break, I, clad in “casual Friday” jeans and comfortable sneakers, grabbed the key to override the elevator, allowing it to travel to the 4th floor, and headed up to the attic.
Unlocking the Master lock and pulling open the creaky door, I stepped into what I have dubbed “Rapunzel’s Room” . . . and there it was — my nemesis; the 30 foot tall spiral iron staircase, caked in a thick layer of filth, that stood between me and my dream.
Canon Rebel slung around my neck and shoulder, I began the slow, steady climb. There are 71 stairs. I tried to just look at each step and not look down, but that didn’t really work. It was not a fun ascent, but it was worth it. Here is what I found:
It is a Seth Thomas Co. clock built in Thomaston, Conn. A counterweight-driven clock with four faces, its metal identification plate reads Aug. 22, 1893. The minute hands measure 8-feet long; the hour hands measure 4-feet long.
As time ticks away, the heavy counterweight slowly drops about 30 feet into the clock-tower room. When it falls all the way down, once every seven days, it needs to be cranked up again.