Glenville State College’s Clock Tower has been the most distinguished physical feature of the institution for generations. The college’s nickname, the Lighthouse on the Hill, originated from the local community’s perception of this landmark, and the first pictorial history book also took the title. However, the Clock Tower was not always a part of the school. It was installed in 1897 with the addition of a clock in 1899. The tower was lowered in 1903 because of safety concerns.
The original bell and clock workings have been removed and displayed historically at another location on campus near Goodwin Hall. The Clock Tower is now operated electronically with speaker systems and other technological advances.
institution at Glenville originated as the Glenville Branch of the West
Virginia State Normal School at Marshall in 1872. By 1874, the Lively House,
located at the present Clock Tower location, was purchased as a permanent home
for the school. While the first few years of operation saw very little to no
support from the state, funds were provided in 1885 and 1893 to build the two
structures that are on each side of the Clock Tower. At this time, only a
staircase connected the two structures that held twelve separate rooms. These
rooms included six classrooms, a library, a music room, a laboratory, a
commencement hall, an office, and a chapel/study area.
though evidence shows that the tower was in place by the end of 1897, no clock
was installed until 1899. This four-faced timepiece was installed by the E.
Howard Clock Co. from Boston, Massachusetts. This company was established in
1842 by Edward Howard with the construction of household clocks, but it soon
expanded its operations to include watches, tower clocks, and street clocks.
bell was uniquely made with the embossed names of the state’s Board of Regent
members, the name of the school’s principal, and the date of its origination,
1899. Of interest, the Principal’s name was W. J. Holden, but the bell has the
name J. W. Holden on it. No information regarding the reason for this has been
found, and it is believed that this may have been a mistake by the maker of the
bell that could not be fixed without recreating the entire item.
alterations have taken place since the early beginnings of the Clock Tower. The
original tower was 20 feet taller but was lowered in 1903 because it was deemed
unstable. Since 1903, the Clock Tower has appeared similar in appearance as it
does today, but other changes continued to take place. Technological advances
have also made the original workings of the clock inefficient, and newer electronic
methods of operation have resulted.
fact, the original bell and clock workings were removed in 2010 and preserved
in a historical fashion on campus. During the construction of the campus’
Goodwin Hall, the opportunity arose to have the extremely heavy bell and clock
workings removed and displayed in a dedicated building on campus. Over the
years, the clock’s keepers included George Firestone, Duffy Bush, and Els Roy
Clemens, and the Classified Staff Council elected to dedicate this new
structure in honor of Els Roy Clemens. This structure is located between
Goodwin Hall and the Mollohan Campus Community Center.