Clock planned as tribute to late town historian

Rachael Scarborough King; Register Staff
December 31, 2007

NORTH BRANFORD – Former town Historian Janet Gregan rarely left a meeting at Town Hall without saying that “every town needs a town clock,” friend and Totoket Historical Society President Grace Marx said.

Now, Marx and other historical society members are working to fulfill that wish and honor Gregan, who died in October at age 70. The society wants to install a decorative clock in front of Town Hall, which sits on Route 80 at the intersection with Route 22.

“This is one thing she had always wanted,” Marx said. “We wanted to do something special because she was a very special person.”

Gregan had been town historian for more than a decade, Marx said, and was also the secretary and past president of the Totoket Historical Society. Marx said the Historical Society received several donations as a memorial for Gregan after her death, and members are continuing to raise money for the project before choosing a design.

“I would love a three-faced clock so you can see it all around, but it depends how much we can raise,” Marx said, estimating that the clock will cost $5,000 to $10,000.

Marx and Gregan wrote two books on North Branford history together.

“She was really a wonderful, wonderful person, and her knowledge was just superb,” Marx said. “I always called her the backbone of the Historical Society.”

Gregan’s husband, Bob Gregan, said that the couple moved to North Branford in the mid-1960s. They met when both attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, R.I. They lived in the Northford section and Janet Gregan worked part-time in the school district after their three children were born.

“I think it’s just an absolutely marvelous tribute and all of my children are just overwhelmed and so are our friends,” Bob Gregan said. “She loved history‚Ķ(and) she thought she could contribute to the town, and that she did in many, many different ways.”

Gregan said that his wife was also the historian for the North Branford Congregational Church, of which they were members, and “she loved the town and she loved the people in the town.”

He added that he does not remember Janet Gregan expressing an interest in a town clock, but the idea fits her personality.

“My wife always liked to go to meetings early and always to be on time and always early, and she always called me ’10 Minutes Bob’ because I was behind time,” he said.

Marx said she hopes Historical Society members will settle on a design in the next few months and that it will be possible to install the clock in the spring. Town Manager Karl Kilduff said that he has spoken with Town Councilors about the project and they have expressed support for the idea. Once the Historical Society chooses a vendor and design, the town would ask for a formal presentation to the Town Council.

“It would be a nice addition to the community and certainly keep the Town Hall as an integral focal point on Route 80,” Kilduff said. “Certainly a nice amenity.”

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