June 26, 2019

Steeple chaser

Observer courtesy photo by Emily Heymann

Williston Senior Planner Matt Boulanger takes a turn on the bike inside the Williston Federated Church steeple that is rigged to wind the town-owned clock that overlooks Williston Village from the top of the steeple.

The planned replacement of the steeple later this year with a copper-sheathed replica built to better withstand the weather has renewed interest in the quirky relationship the town has with the church and its steeple.

Town leaders placed the clock in the steeple about 120 years ago, and a procession of community members have taken the job of clock-winder, cranking 1,500 pounds of rock to the top of the steeple every week to ensure the clock continues to operate uninterrupted.

In 2001, clock-winder Bill White figured it would be easier to wind the clock with a bike drive and built and installed the contraption Boulanger is pictured trying out.

The church is raising money from church members and the community at large to help with the anticipated $240,000 cost of replacing the steeple. The town plans to contribute $25,000 in the upcoming fiscal year budget.

Visit the church’s website at steeple.org or call 878-5792 for more information.

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