Mt. Angel Glockenspiel
Mount Angel's Glockenspiel celebrates the German-Swiss-Bavarian heritage of the village and our 42 year old world famous Oktoberfest. The first figure represents the Native Americans who came to this place to communicate with the Great Spirit, followed by figures depicting the founders of both the civil and religious communities of Mount Angel and the frivolity and fun of the Oktoberfest.
The Glockenspiel plays at 11 a.m., 1, 4 and 7 p.m. daily. The clock is large and clearly visible; the bells are sharp and precise in their sound. However, the animated figures are the real traffic stoppers. Wherever Glockenspiels are located, they become tourist destinations, with crowds gathering on the appointed hours to watch the figures as they dance about and listen to the resonance of the bells.
The first floor of the tower above street level, displays six life-size hand-carved wooden figures crafted by the wood carvers who created the figures for the Salem Carousel and other members of the Capitol Carving Club.
T.W. Davenport, the original surveyor of the Mount Angel noted that the Indians traveling through the valley climbed the butte to pray to the Great Spirit. The Indians told him that coming to this mount to pray had been a tradition of their ancestors. They called the spot “Tapalamaho,” the Mount of Communion or more descriptively the“dwelling place of the Heavenly Spirit.” Thus our first presentation is a noble Kalapuya Brave at prayer.
Tapalamaho remains to this day a holy place as the site of the Benedictine monks’ abbey and seminary. The abbey welcomes pilgrims of all persuasions to visit this holy place of peace carrying on the great tradition of the early Native Americans.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Zollner were the first German settlers to come to this part of the valley in 1867. They migrated from Rathenberg in the Kingdom of Bavaria.
With the coming of Mathias Butsch in the fall of 1878, the Catholic community of Mount Angel found their leader. He was instrumental in the building the first church, a community store and the first railroad station. Most importantly, he was instrumental in bringing the Benedictine monks to Mount Angel. He is still widely known as the “Father of Mount Angel.”
Prior Adelhelm Odermatt came from our sister city of Engelberg in Switzerland and established the Benedictine Monastery in 1881. He was Mount Angel’s first pastor. He suggested the name “Mount Angel” for the small community, the anglicized version of Engelberg, his Swiss home.
The Benedictine Sisters came to Mount Angel in 1882, from the Convent of Maria Rickenbach in Switzerland. Sister Bernadine Wachter was the first Prioress of the convent and new school, built in the shadow of Prayer Mountain.
The town flourished over the years, and in 1966 took on a Bavarian feeling when the first Oktoberfest was celebrated. The Papa Oom Pah figure is the official mascot. He is a jolly Bavarian with rosy cheeks, a flowing mustache, lederhosen, and a huge tuba. He represents all the fun and excitement of the Northwest's best-loved folk festival and our Bavarian cultural heritage. Oktoberfest is funding this figure.
The grand finale happens on the second floor. When the shutters open, we look to our future. A boy and a girl dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes swing on a garden swing and sing the song Edelweiss. A very appropriate song, since the Glockenspiel Tower is located on the corner of the Edelweiss Village complex.
The Glockenspiel is the cornerstone of our downtown core. The Edelweiss building and tower are built to resemble a large chalet with numerous Alpine features. The building’s upper floors house 28 units of affordable senior housing, with a bank, restaurant and other retail space at street level. Its massive tower with its conical roof is a tourist draw similar to the Glockenspiels of Europe.