The historic Sprague Memorial Clock Tower and its bell were given to the “the town of Needham for the village of Grantville” initially in 1874 by resident John W. Shaw for a schoolhouse bearing his name that stood at the intersection of Forest and Washington Streets.
The clock and bell later made their way to the tower (GPS locates it at 289 Washington St.), designed by architect Benjamin Proctor, Jr., and completed in 1928, per Josh Dorin, who wrote on the subject for a 2016 Wellesley Townsman article. By this time, Wellesley was long a town in its own right, incorporated in 1881.
The clock tower, along with the park, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Maintaining the 1.25-acre town-owned property is a partnership between the Hills Garden Club of Wellesley (HGCW) and the Department of Public Works. Each fall the DPW and Club members plant hundreds of spring flowering bulbs—over 1,500 tulips and daffodils in all in 2022. The HGCW donates the funds each year for the town to purchase the bulbs.
HGCW president M.J. McGee says that during the spring, summer, and fall all 50 of the club’s active members (and some of the sustainers) at some time during each season does a 2-hour maintenance shift in the park. “We weed, we prune, we plant. If you want to contribute to the town this is a way to do it. I always say we grow friendships.”
The most recent Clock Tower Park capital project was a labyrinth, added in 2018. Located in the west side of Clock Tower Park, the meditative aid was built in conjunction with the HGCW, the town’s Park & Tree Division, and town landscape planner Cricket Vlass. The project interweaves stone and grass within the existing ground plane to create a contemplative area.