R.R. Haynes Memorial Tower
Cliffside’s Clock Has A New Home
by Joe DePriest
Star Staff Writer
The Shelby Star, Dec. 20, 1978
CLIFFSIDE – Cliffside’s clock is back.
After a two-year silence, four tons of bells tell the town the time again.
The huge clock has a new home, however,—the R. R. Haynes Memorial tower—and around 200 people attended its dedication ceremonies yesterday.
The memorial—made by Cone Mills Corp.—is located on the site of R. R. Haynes homeplace.
Haynes, born in 1851, was a pioneer of the textile industry in North Carolina. He built mills at Henrietta, Caroleen and Forest City and, in 1902, the Cliffside Mill. Haynes developed the town of Cliffside. He became friends with Moses and Ceasar Cone in the 1880s and the Cone Export and Commission Co. began selling agents for Cliffside Mills. Haynes died in 1917. Three of his mills were acquired by Cone Mills.
In 1919, a $100,000 Haynes Memorial building was erected in Cliffside. It was formally dedicated in 1922.
The Cleveland Star noted that the tower “contains an immense clock with chimes while the interior contains a large auditorium, library, gymnasium, swimming pool, etc. as well as offices for the community nurse which is on duty all the time.”
The building also contained a community meeting room and rooms for out-of-town guests of the mill.
Buddy Weathers, personnel manager of the Cliffside plant, said the building was torn down in 1976.
“It wasn’t in good repair. The building had served its purpose.”
The clock and four bells, each weighing a ton, were placed in a mill storage room, Weathers said.
The new Haynes Memorial tower is made of bricks from the old memorial building, he added.
The Rev. William Stroud of Cliffside Baptist Church gave the invocation yesterday and the Rev. Clay Morgan of Cliffside United Methodist Church gave the benediction.
Before the striking of the clock, Phillip White, principal of Cliffside Elementary School, read an excerpt from Raleigh Rutherford Haynes, a 1954 biography written by Mrs. Grover C. Haynes, Sr.
The piece — entitled “Town Clock” — concluded: “After day’s duties are finished and night approaches, a gentle stillness settles down and the town sleeps. But in the silent watches of the night our town clock keeps vigil. Again in the hush of early morning there it is, fresh and hopeful as morning itself.”
Reprinted by permission from The Star, Shelby, NC.
After the clock works were removed from the Memorial Building tower, the next step was to bring down the clock frame itself. They had the town blocked off and had a bulldozer with cables hooked to the clock frame. Several people were at the old church and I was one of them, to watch the old town clock tower fall. Well, we all waited for a good while for this to take place and when they finally did pull at the old clock frame, I guess maybe 10 bricks came off and that’s all. The old tower didn’t want to go. When we saw it wasn’t going anywhere, we all left. I don’t know how they tore it down but they didn’t do it with a bulldozer that’s for sure (not that day anyway). That was the last time I saw G.C. Fisher alive; JD Johnson was also there that day. For some reason nobody in the crowd had a camera. If we had only known.