Rochester, MN  (KROC AM News) - A special project for Rochester firefighters has taken another major step forward, thanks to a holiday-time gift from a local business.

The Rochester Fire Dept has been raising funds to relocate the Clock Tower and Bell to Fire Station #1 on South Broadway.

The four-sided Seth Thomas clock tower was originally installed at the Fire Department’s main station at the corner of South Broadway and 6th Street SW in 1899. The tower was removed in 1930 when the station was demolished. Although a new station was built at the same site, the clock and bell were kept in storage for some reason until 1982. That’s when they were installed in a new tower at the US Bank location along 1st Avenue SW, about a block from the fire station. The clock was later moved to the Mayo Civic Center but once again put into storage due to the expansion and renovation project.

The Fire Department organized the “Bring Back the Bell”  project in 2015 and began raising funds to cover the $300,000 cost.

The late local historian Alan Calavano had pledged a $100,000 matching grant and it was fulfilled Thursday when Fire Chief Greg Martin announced a $10,000 donation from First Alliance Credit Union. Martin says that final donation helped meet the match.

FACU President/CEO Michael Rosek said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to help the Fire Department reach their $100,000 goal. First Alliance Credit Union was the first credit union in Rochester, and we were founded by seven Rochester firefighters in 1932.The firefighters that founded the credit union believed in our mission of placing members’ needs first, and a commitment to giving back to the communities we serve. The Fire Department’s history is our history, is part of Rochester’s history, and we’re humbled to be a part of it.”

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