Kimberley’s clock is ticking; and yodeling

Happy Hans is yodeling as community effort restores Platzl cuckoo clock

  • Oct. 18, 2012 10:00 a.m.

Mayor Ron McRae congratulates the community effort put forth to refurbish the Platzl cuckoo clock. With McRae are Adi Unterberger

A little piece of Kimberley history, the Platzl cuckoo clock, has received a buff and polish in a real community effort.

Mayor Ron McRae was in the Platzl Wednesday to congratulate Adi Unterberger and Ossi Piechatzek on their efforts in pulling it all together. Also there to take a look at the work was Bill Spence, who in 1972 built the original clockworks for the Kimberley Bavarian Society.

Unterberger explained that in recent years the clock has not been working — Happy Hans has not emerged to yodel on demand.

“A woman from Manitoba came to me last summer,” Unterberger, who owns a shop in the Platzl, said. “She said she used to come here with her family and they always put money in the clock to see Happy Hans. Now she’s here with her grandchildren and it doesn’t work.”

After a visit to City Council for permission, Unterberger enlisted Piechatzek’s help and they  began the work to refurbish the clock. It has been repainted, a new lens for the clock was put in, a new bench out front and the doors repainted. Inside it was re-insulated and the clockworks repaired.

Spence recalls the efforts to build the clock in 1972, just as Kimberley was adopting the Bavarian theme.

“Bill Taylor was chair of the Bavarian Society then,” Spence said. “We decided we needed a cuckoo clock but the quote from Germany was $80,000. So they couldn’t afford it. I said I’d build the works if someone would take on the exterior. Dick Bova said he would. We didn’t have a permit, we just built it. On the Labour Day weekend the timer fouled up and it yodelled all night.

“A group of people went to City Hall to complain. The Mayor and a Councilman went looking for Dick Bova. I went into hiding,” Spence said with a smile.

“They caught up with Dick and asked him if he built the clock. He said no. They said ‘was it Bill Spence?’ Dick said no. Then they said it has no permit and it has to be torn down. Mayor Jim said the City would move it, but they never did.

At this time there is still some uncertainty as to who actually owns the clock.

However, regardless of who it belongs to, it is an institution in Kimberley and obviously very important to many people.

That importance was spelled out with the number of businesses who pitched in to make sure Unterberger and Piechatzek had the supplies they needed to finish the project.

&B Glass supplied the glass for the clock face, Kimberley Building Supplies provided all the paint, My Signs donated the sign; Tyee donated wood for the bench, artist Gehard Winkler repainted the doors.

“All in all, a real community effort,” Unterberger said.

Just Posted

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

Interior Health evacuates Kimberley facilities

Residents at Kimberley Special Care Home and Garden View Village evacuted

Latest report from BC Wildfire Service

BC Wildfire Service says Meachen Creek fire settled down again Thursday evening, after high winds kicked it up

UPDATE: Fire forces closures and delays on Highway 3 at Kootenay Pass

Motorists should detour using Kootenay Lake ferry

Kimberley under evacuation alert; be prepared

Information on what to do; expect

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at Victoria’s CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

Most Read