Loller Clock Restoration Complete!
Congratulations to the Millbrook Society and the Borough of Hatboro on the restoration of the 1811 Isaiah Lukens Clock in Loller Academy! The event will be commemorated on New Year's Eve 2015 as the final event of Hatboro's Tricentennial with a clock rededication ceremony at 6:00 PM followed by professional fireworks at 7:00 PM.
The Millbrook Society has been working with the Borough of Hatboro on the restoration and preservation of the Isaiah Lukens Clock at Loller Academy. This effort began with raising matching funds for two Commonwealth grants and now acting as trustee of the endowment fund for the clocks perpetual care. HPHA contributed to the project in 2012 (see below).
The restoration was led by Keith Winship of Winship's Pieces of Time in Hatboro. Shown below: Charles Roche, Jim Lukens, Fred Zollers, Keith Winship, Bryan Winship
Loller Academy was built in 1811 with funds donated by the estate of Robert Loller.(1740-1808). Loller was an educator and a patriot, having fought at Trenton, Princeton, and Germantown. He was elected to the Continental Congress and helped draft the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Constitution. Col Loller and another neighbor, Dr Archibald MacLean Jr, were given the task of inventorying the possessions of Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson after the Revolutionary War when the Commonwealth was trying to seize Graeme Park.
(from History of Hatboro
) Loller left instructions in his will for another illustrious neighbor and good friend, Nathaniel Boileau, to build the Loller Academy at a cost of $11,000.
The school was opened after Loller's death, closed shortly after the Civil War, and again became a state school 60 years later.
In the 1950's the building was condemned as unsafe and there was talk of tearing it down. Borough residents strongly objected and voted to restore the building. It is used today as a community center, town hall, and borough offices.
Isaiah Lukens Clock
The Loller Academy building has a clock in its tower that was made by Isaiah Lukens which was installed in 1812. A seven day clock, it has a bell in the tower above it that rings hourly. Lukens made a similar clock in 1829 for Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
The Loller clock is over 200 years old and was badly in need of restoration. Keith Winship, of Hatboro antique clock restoration business Winships’ Pieces of Time, teamed up with Hatboro businessman and clock lover Charles Roché in 2008 to begin the process of restoring the clock to good working order.
HPHA Donates to Loller Clock Restoration
HPHA Executive Director Pete Choate and HPHA Founder and Board Member Margaret Choate met with Hatboro Borough Historian Dave Shannon on Wednesday evening, August 1, 2012, to present him with a $500 personal donation and an additional $500 donation from HPHA towards the 1st Phase of the Loller Academy Clock Restoration. This will provide the restoration group enough funds to match a $5,000 PMHC grant.
“The Millbrook Society of Hatboro and HPHA have worked together on different projects over the years and we just thought that the Loller clock was an important part of local history that needed to be restored. Our board agreed, so we decided to help” said Margaret Choate. Pete Choate added “Even though the clock is located in Hatboro, it was made in Horsham so we feel it has a shared heritage and we’d love to see it running again”.
The borough applied for a grant through the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission to evaluate the clock and develop a restoration plan. “This clock is arguably one of the most valuable artifacts not only here in Hatboro, but also the Commonwealth,” borough historian Dave Shannon wrote in the grant application . “To the best of my knowledge it is only one of three built by Isaiah Lukens and the last in active use.” (Horsham Patch 1/24/11).
PMHC approved a grant of $5,000 with a matching requirement of an additional $5,000. According to Millbrook Society President Lynn Magaha, the $1,000 combined donation made by the Choates and HPHA will give them the funds they need to match the grant and get started on the evaluation phase of the restoration.