By Joe Bachman
“Up until the restoration two years ago, we would find Paul climbing in the tower by himself doing maintenance of the clock mechanism…50 feet in the air.”
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Kind and humorous words from Wood County historian Phil Brown about 94-year-old Paul Gross, as he was honored by the city in part to rededicate the memorial clock tower on Thursday.
Built in 1892, the original clock mechanism has been restored — a years-long project that includes the restoration of parts of the interior and exterior. The clock tower was once a part of the old city hall, and after that building was demolished, the clock was saved by Gross, who in the 1980’s would go on to start a group that would build the current clock and bell tower. This would be finished on June 28, 1991, and originally dedicated on that day.
“This landmark would not have been possible without the vision and dedication of lifelong resident, local businessman and historian, Paul Gross.” said Mayor Zach Vruwink.
Three major players contributed to the clock’s restoration over the decades, including Paul Gross. According to Vruwink, two others that deserve credit are South Wood County Historical Corporation President Phil Brown, and local Architect Jerry Feith.
“Hopefully 50 years from now we can do this again.” joked Gross, as he made closing remarks to the crowd.