The Westclox building went up in flames at the break of the New Year. The fire reportedly was started by a pair of local teenagers. Video from the early hours of Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012.
Peru, Illinois firefighters and police responded about 11:58 a.m. New Year’s Eve to the Westclox factory building complex in a block Walnut and Fifth Avenue.
The middle of the building of the Westclox complex was fully engulfed with flames when firefighters arrived.
Several businesses listed at the 300 to 400 blocks of 5th Street were protected from flames, but are likely affected by smoke damage. Those include Marien Mae Bridal Boutique & Events, a Curves, McConville Studio — a photographer’s studio, and Ann Frances Salon.
By 2:30 a.m. Peru Police charged a LaSalle boy, 17, and a Peru boy, 15 with aggravated arson. The aggravated arson charges because a firefighter was injured while responding to the fire.
Westclox origins go back to Peru, Illinois in 1885, when Charles Stahlberg and others from Waterbury, Connecticut originally formed the “United Clock Company” on December 5, 1885 in Peru. The complex of as many as 44 buildings was used to make clocks until 1980. After going through several trademark acquisitions, Westclox and Big Ben are currently owned by NYL Holdings LLC.
Plans for the Westclox property included a convention center while retaining some of the historic features of the property.
Video from resident of Peru, Illinois.