In 1852, the City of New Albany was the largest city in Indiana, Millard Fillmore of the Whig Party was President of the United States, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe was published, and construction of the 2nd Presbyterian Church with its 160’ clock tower and spire at 300 East Main Street in New Albany was complete.
If you grew up around here, you’ve probably heard the story about how that church, which later became the Second Baptist Church of New Albany, was once a stop in the Underground Railroad. The 160’ clock tower served as beacon of hope for slaves trying to escape to the North, as it could easily be seen from the Kentucky shoreline. In its basement, the church had small rooms and cubby holes where the slaves could sleep as they continued their journey to freedom.
On July 16, 2013, the Town Clock Church took another step in its own journey. Thanks to volunteers from the “Friends of the Town Clock Church,” donations from local residents and support from Develop New Albany, Indiana Landmarks and Your Community Bank the restoration of this Civil War-era building is moving forward. Most of the construction on the project has been completed, but the Friends of the Town Clock Church are seeking additional funding to repair or replace windows and doors, and paint portions of the church. The City of New Albany committed $75,000 to the project as long as the Friends of the Town Clock Church were able to match the donation. As of Monday, they’d raised $80,000. In addition, close to $100,000 of private funds have been raised for the project.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the consent and support of the congregation of the Second Baptist Church and the Rev. LeRoy Marshall. Reverend Marshall said a prayer at Tuesday’s event, and expressed his gratitude to the city, the volunteers and the preservationists for this revitalization effort. Shortly after that, new clock faces were hoisted into place to the delight of onlookers. Padgett Crane donated their services for the operation, and Mayor Jeff Gahan said, that “this effort to preserve our history comes during our Bicentennial Celebration, which makes it all the more special. I am very pleased that so many groups came together to make this happen.”
Learn more about the Town Clock Church HERE
Like the Friends of the Town Clock Church on Facebook HERE