Locals share memories as Clock Tower demolition begins

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Demolition began on the Clock Tower Resort Monday. Many are remembering the impression it had on the community.

"I'm disappointed but life goes on," said former Clock Tower Resort Vice President and General Manager Rex Parker.

Parker said he spent 25 years working at the resort.

"It was an icon for the community. It was a meeting place for those that were going past, alot of people from the Chicago area came out to use the water facility," said Parker.

Demolition began Monday morning on the convention center side of the resort.

Sam Darby designed a banquet facility, several restaurants inside, and the time museum at the clock tower. He believes the facility went downhill in 1999 when the original owners sold it.

"Unfortunately when the Atwood's sold the properties, not the same amount of interest or energy was put into the facility and the result is what we're seeing today," said Darby.

"The Clock Tower did really welll when there was a local stake to that facility. I think that's one of the reasons that I have so much optimism about what that property can be because now there is local stake there again," said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

While saying goodbye is bittersweet, many are feeling positive about what's next.

"Hopefully whatever replaces it will also be a meeting place for Rockford community people and also those coming from out of town," said Parker.

Construction crews say they are unsure exactly when demolition will be finished.

Meanwhile, many in the stateline say they're sad to see the clock tower go and tell us they have memories of spending time at the resort in its heyday.

Built in 1966, many say they remember the convention center area being used for prom and events like class reunions. Others remember having meals at the various restaurants or spending time at the water park.

Some also remember taking class trips to the resort's clock museum.

"Well you see it coming off the interstate. It's a draw; it's an attraction. It was a good place to go to eat. It was a good place for birthday parties. We had a class reunion there. We had very good benefits from them," said Ruth Steffen, who celebrated her class reunion at the Clock Tower.