By Kevin Kelley
At a series of events commemorating the founding of Dover Township 200 years ago, Mayor Dennis Clough has repeatedly said the history of Westlake boils down to its people devoting their time to make a difference in their community.
So it was fitting that the final major event celebrating Westlake’s bicentennial was the dedication of a commemorative clock, located on Hilliard Boulevard in front of Westlake City Hall.
After recounting the many events the community held in celebration of the bicentennial, the mayor said those events had been possible because many city employees and community volunteers worked overtime to make them happen.
“The key, though, was that the entire community of Westlake got involved to help us celebrate this bicentennial year,” Clough said at the Saturday morning ceremony.
The mayor expressed his hope that the bicentennial clock would become a symbol of this year’s celebrations.
“After all our 200th celebration is simply a point in time,” said Clough, who became mayor in 1986.
“I believe this clock to be a constant reminder that time continues to move or, as people often say, marches on.”
Clough noted the many popular aphorisms about time, adding that his parents often told him, “Spend your time wisely.”
“Today as we reflect on the time that has been part of our past, the time that is now the present, and what we expect or vision time to be in the future, let us remember that time is truly free,” Clough said. “And it is very precious. And that each of us has the opportunity to make a positive difference in our life in our community, in our nation, and in our world, but most importantly in the life of another by giving some of our precious time to any of these ends.
“Now let this bicentennial community clock be a constant reminder of how important time is, and that as we, as individuals, organizations, public officials and citizens, will have an impact on the success and the determination of history and the future based on how we make the best use of our time.”
Westlake City Council President Mike Killeen said the clock was symbolic of the community because so many organizations helped pay for it.
“It wasn’t something the city did,” Killeen said. “It was something that the organizations and the people joined in to do. If the city had just would have spent money and put up this clock, it wouldn’t have meant anything.
“This means a lot to everyone on Westlake because it symbolizes Westlake,” Killeen said. “It’s not the government; it’s the people.”
The clock cost $45,000. The city government contributed $24,900. Proceeds from the mayor’s Culinary Ball raised $5,450 toward the clock. Civic organizations and other donors contributed the rest.
One of the small plaques at the base of the clock memorializes Brad Schroth, the late son of Community Services Director Joyce Able Schroth. The Schroth had been considering various ways to remember him with a lasting memorial when the mayor proposed installing a commemorative clock for the bicentennial. The Schroth family contributed money toward the purchase of the clock.
When Brad, who died in 2010 at age 34 of a brain aneurysm, took a job on the east side of Cleveland, his mother suggested he look for a house closer to his work. His son replied, “Why would I want to leave Westlake?”
“And so he commuted to and from work, well over an hour each way, so that he could remain in the community he loved – Westlake,” Schroth recalled.
As part of the landscaping planned for the area around the clock, city officials intend to sell engraved bricks that will cover the ground around the clock.
Manufactured by Cincinnati-based Verdin Company, the clock was driven to Westlake on the morning of Nov. 15 and installed later that day by Verdin employees and service department workers. Standing at a height of 17 feet 10 inches, the Heritage model clock includes a built-in digital carillon, or bell instrument, that plays chimes on the hour and a variety of musical selections.
At the conclusion of Saturday’s unveiling ceremony, the clock’s carillon played “The Rose of Tralee,” a song associated with Westlake’ sister city of Tralee, Ireland.