GREENVILLE — A new clock for Legacy Field at Greenville High School was going to cost more than $20,000. For Superintendent Peter Haines, the cost was not in his budget.
Haines came up with a solution for his clock idea and it meant going back in time, so to speak, and asking the Flat River Historical Museum Board for the clock that the Greenville class of 1912 donated to the old Central Intermediate School.
The 5-foot clock remained at the old Central Intermediate School until 1977, when the school was demolished. Just before demolition, the timepiece was removed and stored while planning for the museum installation took place. The old pneumatic power clock arrived at the museum on Sept. 6, 1979.
The old power source was replaced with a new electrical power source and the clock remained at the museum until this year, when the Flat River Historical Museum Board donated it to the school.
The clock’s journey back to Greenville schools began after Haines called Flat River Historical Museum Board President Bill Garlick and asked if he could purchase the clock for the new Legacy Field.
“The Flat River Historical Museum Board voted unanimously to donate the clock to Greenville Public Schools,” Haines said. “We had to accept expenses related to moving it, installing it and replacing (filling) the open space in the front of their building.”
Haines already had an idea to fill the space and it involved stained glass and 85-year-old Greenville resident Jack Bailey. Bailey and Haines both attend First United Methodist Church in Greenville. Bailey, who lost his arm years ago while working on a press, made all of the stained glass for the church’s new addition.
“I contacted Jack while he was in Florida,” Haines said. “He really loved the idea.”
By having Bailey create a stained glass to fill in the hole that the clock once filled, Haines spent much less than the $20,000 quoted for a new clock.
“We are buying all of the materials, which will be a few hundred dollars, and the Longest family and Builders Glass of Greenville has donated all the labor to remove, restore and reinstall the clock at Legacy Field,” Haines said.
Bailey also gave his time to make this work for Haines and the local school district.
“Jack Bailey graciously donated his time and artistic talent to create the stained-glass window which will satisfy our requirement to fill the space,” Haines said.
The reciprocity agreement between Garlick and Haines produced from Bailey a stained glass mural depicting John Greene and what it was like to stand on the site of the museum overlooking the Flat River in 1844. Hanies originally had some art students from Greenville’s 2012 graduating class make a design for the mural. The museum board then modified the design to fit their vision of the mural.
“I had Jack get some ideas from some of our more serious art students,” Haines said. “I wanted our kids to get some exposure to the craft Jack does.”
Bailey started his craft of stained glass after he retired from Greenville Tool and Die. Retirement for Bailey meant time to travel. Being a wood worker all his life, Bailey knew he couldn’t take his tools everywhere he went.
“I loved the RV life,” Bailey said. “When I knew I would be traveling in the trailer I knew I couldn’t bring all those wood working tools with me I had to find something else to do with my time.
So his search for a new craft began and it turned out there was a doctor in town who lived on Cass Street and he taught the stained glass craft.
“I went down there and talked to him about it,” Bailey said. “Then it was six or eight lessons later, I was making lamp shades and other items, it just came natural to me.”
Haines was eager to tell Bailey his idea for the museum and how he could help.
“(Haines) started out with ‘I got to tell you a story and it’s kind of a long story,’” Bailey said when Haines called him in Florida. “(Haines) went on and talked about the clock history and everything to do with what he had planned and when he finished telling the story I knew what was coming.”
Bailey explained that the people, who know him, know his sense of humor and he uses it to get the upper hand sometimes. Bailey used his humor to play a small joke on Haines during their phone conversation.
“I said, ‘Pete, I just don’t know how,’ and I just stopped and I waited and waited a little bit and finally said, ‘How I could turn you down,’ and I could hear him sighing in the background,” Bailey said with a laugh.
Bailey began the work on the stained glass May 15 and finished it June 18.
“I think on average I worked about six hours a day,” Bailey said. “My neighbor helped me too, she would come over at 9 a.m. and work until I was done. She was real excited to help me on this.”
It will be a few more weeks before the stained glass will be installed in the hole that once housed the clock at the museum.
“I have been talking with Builders Glass,” Bailey said. “Their schedule is quite full and so they think it will be a couple of weeks before we can get it installed.”
Bailey is unsure if they are replacing the faded yellowish Plexiglas that was used to cover the clock while it was at the museum.
“The stained glass has to be protected from the elements,” he said. “It can’t be exposed or it will just fall apart. But that is up to the school and museum on how they handle that.”