Tom Bernardin’s interest in architectural preservation began in 1974 as a volunteer with the Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture in New York City.
With first-generation preservationist Margot Gayle, he located 30 of the remaining old bishop crook lampposts that once lined the streets of Manhattan and negotiated with the city to preserve them.
In later years, he worked as a National Park Service ranger (1978-80) at pre-restoration Ellis Island National Monument. His involvement there led him to write and publish The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook in an effort to preserve the recipes of our immigrant forbearers.
Save America’s Clocks, incorporated in 1997, grew out of his interest and concern with things easily lost which serve to enrich and enlighten the lives of future generations. America’s clocks were once the pride of their communities, intricately designed, historically rich and a real public amenity. In 1999 SAC was chosen as a designated project of Save America’s Treasurers, part of the White House Millennium Council and administered by the Nation Trust for Historic Preservation.
Today many of America’s public clocks are not functioning, victims of neglect as our population’s interest shifted elsewhere. That neglect has ultimately led to decay. The goal of Save America’s Clocks is to ensure that these public timepieces are preserved and operative for future generation. In order to achieve that goal, the following activities have been (and will be) undertaken:
A thorough database of all clocks in the United States is to be available on the Save America’s Clocks website. This permanent inventory will include, among other information, photos, address, owner, condition, history, maintenance record, interested parties and, if applicable, restorers and fund raising activities. This data will be collected by launching, both on the Internet and in print, a national clock search. Interested parties will be encouraged to send photos and data regarding their clocks.
Using the website as the foundation for Save America’s Clocks, we continue to engage local organization, schools and individuals to ‘adopt’ a clock and be the eyes and ears of SAC in order to ensure the public clocks are working, telling the correct time and well maintained. In addition, as the budget allows, SAC would like to provide small grants or “seed money’ to help these groups in their efforts.
To publish a book entitled Saving America’s Clocks. This will be a photographic survey of America’s clocks with the stories behind the clock and the community’s effort to preserve them.
Thank you for visiting the site and we encourage you to visit again. We plan on making rapid progress in building our database and moving forward in this most visible and worth while preservation effort. Please feel free to send us information about your clocks here.