A moving dedication

Published 8:10 am Friday, June 5, 2009

FRANKLIN—For the crowd of about 60 people standing along, and partially in, Main Street on Tuesday evening, everything around them had a common theme: renewal.

They stood before the restored Franklin Train Depot/Visitor Center, and just steps away from the new Farmers’ Market, to gather around the tall, black-shrouded object positioned in the center of the newly bricked sidewalk.

At precisely 10 minutes after 6 p.m., the Rich family — Stan, Mary and Morgan — each took hold of the shroud and gently pulled it back to unveil the newest addition to the city and its continuing renewal: the Franklin Depot Clock, dedicated to the memory of their son and brother, Casy Lynn Rich.

“This has been something we have been trying to get done for a number of years,” said Victor Story, president of the Downtown Franklin Association. “It’s been researched. We found some people in Florida that did a (nice) streetscape clock. We decided we wanted to get it, and we decided we wanted to do something special with it.”

Casy was born and raised in Franklin and graduated from Franklin High School in 1999. As a child, a piece of antique glass piqued his interest in the subject, and he grew up to become one of the nation’s premier experts on antique glassware. He also followed in his father’s footsteps and became an established antiques dealer in his own right.

He died on Nov. 4, 2008, in a hospital in Pennsylvania from complications following back surgery. He was 27.

“Everyone knew Casy. He loved Franklin. When you all walk by here and see the clock, think of Casy,” Story said.

Stan Rich then stood at the podium and spoke for the family.

“We would like to thank the Downtown Franklin Association, the people in the City of Franklin, and businesses in the city,” he said. “It was a great place to raise Casy. He learned a lot of good values here. He took those values with him and put them in the business world that he went into. We appreciate your kindness so much from the bottom of our hearts.”

The Rich family also donated their entire collection of downtown Franklin memorabilia to the neighboring Franklin Train Depot/Vistor Center. Both Stan and Casy has been collecting the items for the last 20 years.

“He has donated everything he’s had with downtown Franklin on it to the train station to be on display,” Story said. “It’s a lot of neat stuff, dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.”

Mayor Jim Councill said the city’s long history with the train depot made it the best spot to place the clock.

“This has been a long time coming,” Councill said of the clock project. “There was a plan to put it on a building up in the middle of town, but nobody really liked that. We didn’t have a good place for it, and it took a right good while to develop (the train depot). But this is the perfect place for it, and to honor to Casy.”

Councill added that Stan Rich, who owns the Southampton Antiques store directly across the street from the train depot, was one of the first business owners to announce he would return and rebuild after Hurricane Floyd devastated the downtown in 1999.

“Stan was a believer, and he was one of the leaders that helped get us all back downtown,” said the mayor, who then told the Rich family “we are so grateful for your commitment and your decision to help with this, and to be of faith and doing such a great job.”

According to Story, the new Franklin Depot Clock is 11 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs a couple hundred pounds. The cast aluminum clock was built by the East Bay Clock Co. of Gulf Breeze, Fla.