The timely return of a local landmark

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Community Editor
A local landmark first placed in the park in 1967 is back after an absence of a few years. The clock has been refurbished and will tell time for park goers for years to come.

Fifty-three years to the day it was first placed in Neosho's Big Spring Park, the floral clock was celebrated in a ceremony on Monday. The original clock was installed on June 15, 1967 at the park's entrance. Around 3,000 flowers and plants were used to create a 17-foot clock face. For many years, a different floral design was used each year.

The clock was shipped to Neosho from Neuchatel, Switzerland via New Orleans. The original cost was $750 with an additional $176 for shipping. The project was conceived ty the Neosho Flower Box Committee. One of the board members showed the group photos of various flower gardens in France and Switzerland and some included clocks. Then city manager Charles Bell, Mayor Wayne Insco, and the city council approved the project and history was made with what became a Neosho landmark.

The clock kept time in Big Spring Park until 1995 when it was believed to be broken and removed. Three years later, it returned only to suffer repeated vandalism and was removed until now.

City staff with the support of numerous local businesses, organizations and individuals repaired the clock which returned to the park in March. Flowers were once again planted in the clock face in April.

The ceremony was originally planned for an earlier date but flooding in the park postponed the event until the 53rd anniversary of the original installation this week.

City staff members and local residents turned out at noon on Monday for the event.

"I just want to welcome everybody to our dedication of the Big Spring Park clock. It's something that has been in this community since 1967. Over the past several months we've been working on revitalizing the clock," Neosho City Manager David Kennedy told those present.

Neosho Mayor Carmin Allen was on hand recognize those who played an integral role in the clock's return, including Tim Booyer Welding, T & M Fabrication, Neosho Walmart, Rocky Willis Powder Coating, and Martin Crews.

The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce had a ribbon cutting to commemorate the clock's rededication..

In closing, Allen said, "This is what a community can do when they jump in and work together. I'd like to see this continue through our city we grow. We've got some other projects here, other improvements that had been done in Big Spring Park. I do thank everybody for being here and the clock beautifies the park - I love it."

He also noted that a number of projects have been done this season to improve the park under the direction of Neosho Parks Superintendent Clint Dalbom.

The clock is located at the main entrance of Big Spring Park, a centerpiece of the local park system that was first acquired by the city to be used as a park in 1902. The park is located two blocks west of the historic Neosho Downtown Square on West Spring Street.