Downtown Litchfield is in the midst of a makeover this summer as U.S. Highway 12/North Sibley Avenue are reconstructed.
Included is new infrastructure, in addition to new concrete street and sidewalk and new lights.
And earlier this month, Litchfield City Council approved another amenity that’s been in the works for more than a year.
The City Council unanimously accepted a $7,500 donation from Litchfield Downtown Council for the purchase of a clock that will be installed between 213 and 215 Sibley Ave. N. later this summer.
The clock will be built by Lumichron Commercial Clocks of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The clock, with a 30-inch in diameter face, will be positioned on a post and have an approximate height of 10 feet.
The clock’s location was decided by the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office and Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Cultural Resource Unit, in collaboration with Litchfield Downtown Council and the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission.
A downtown clock will be like a step back in time. Downtown Litchfield had four ornate clocks in the early 1900s, one of which came from Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. Council Member Darlene Kotelnicki saw the clocks in a March 26, 1969, issue of the Independent Review while researching at the GAR hall in February 2019.
The clock located at 115 N. Sibley Ave. appears to have been placed from 1910 to 1914, according to the Meeker County Historical Society’s records. A Litchfield Independent Review article reported that this clock cost about $315 new and was built by the Anastasia Clock Company.
Another clock, dating back to 1902, was located at 215 N. Sibley Ave. The last photo of this clock was taken in 1941. The third clock was placed at 227 N. Sibley Ave., where Millard’s Jewelry once stood, dating back to at least 1899 as shown by the Litchfield Municipal Progress Book. The fourth clock stood at 301 N. Sibley Ave. near the former Gross Jewelry store in a photo dating 1909.
The Independent Review reported in 1969 that, “The old clock which has stood for over 50 years in front of Tostenrud’s Jewelry in Litchfield has departed from Litchfield’s main street scene. City workmen hauled the old clock away recently, and it was sold as scrap metal to dealer Ray Woods. The clock, according to Nels Ringdahl a retired Litchfield tailor, once stood on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis before the turn of the century.”
Kotelnicki shared her discovery in a Facebook post and saw there was interest in restoring the clocks — or at least one clock — downtown. She brought the proposal before the City Council after researching historical properties of where clocks could potentially be placed in Litchfield’s downtown.
None of the four clocks was on the east side of Sibley and each was about a block apart.
A date for installation of the new downtown clock has not been established.