Local woman keeps Lucerne cuckoo clock in Little Switzerland

Local woman keeps Lucerne cuckoo clock in Little Switzerland
Dave Mast

This authentic cuckoo clock from Lucerne, Switzerland was donated to Becky Detwiler, curator at Alpine Hills Museum. It was raffled off as a fundraiser for the museum’s elevator project.


“So, you’re telling me there’s a chance.”

That famous line uttered by Lloyd Christmas in the movie “Dumb & Dumber” is an oft-used phrase for those with little to no chance of having their dreams come true.

Margaret Nagy of Sugarcreek is living proof that sometimes the long shot comes in, and sometimes the smallest of chances turns out to be a winning formula.

Many hopefuls entered the drawing to win a one-of-a-kind cuckoo clock that was raffled off at this year’s Swiss Festival as a fundraiser for the Alpine Hills Museum in Sugarcreek.

Becky Detwiler, curator at Alpine Hills Museum, came up with the idea after John and Jeanna Edie of Zoarville donated it to the museum.

“It looks very much like a Swiss chalet right out of Switzerland,” Detwiler said.

Nagy wandered into the museum to purchase one ticket to enter the drawing on the day of the drawing while many others purchased multiple tickets. It wasn’t a million-to-one, but the odds were not in her favor.

Yet when the winning ticket was drawn, there was Nagy, claiming the revered cuckoo clock.

“I really never thought I’d actually win,” Nagy said as Detwiler hung the clock near the entry to Nagy’s kitchen. “I was very excited because I know it’s a pretty rare clock.”

The authentic Swiss cuckoo clock from Lucerne, Switzerland was purchased by the Edies in 1998. The clock was purchased a quarter-century ago by the Edies for $800 at Bucherer Cassagrande Souvenirs. It was displayed in the Edie home since then, but the Edie family donated it to the Swiss Village Museum recently in honor of John and Jeanna.

The cuckoo clock itself is just over 1-foot wide and features a waterwheel on one side and dancing Swiss people on a carousel on the other, with a festive Swiss song yodeling out each hour.

For Detwiler, the idea of the clock remaining in Sugarcreek was exciting because it feels like a great fit, a perfect resting spot for something so Swiss.

“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was to see the clock staying right here where it belongs,” Detwiler said. “That means a lot to me.”

For Nagy, the connecting factor was she at one time volunteered for a lengthy span as a greeter at the Swiss Heritage Museum.

“I had no idea, but once we started talking about her past and she told me she volunteered here, I thought that only added to the story,” Detwiler said.

“I used to answer all kinds of questions and make people feel at home when I was there,” Nagy said.

Nagy and her husband George came to Sugarcreek after living in Lakewood, Ohio, where George was a shipping clerk and Margaret worked as a legal secretary. George passed away in 2021, following a brief illness. Nagy now lives with her grandson Benji. She has four children, two in Florida and two in Ohio.

Their reason for coming was because they had purchased the Dutch Host Hotel in 1996, which they owned and operated for a dozen years before selling it to Richard Ropp.

“It was a great experience that we truly enjoyed,” Nagy said. “We met a lot of really nice people during our time there.”

Nagy said she had always wanted to get a new cuckoo clock to replace a nonworking and much smaller version but had never gotten around to it.

Now she won’t have to worry about that.

“It looks beautiful,” Nagy said of the clock.

As Detwiler placed the clock on the wall, one interested bystander was Snickerdoodle, Nagy’s pet cat, who batted at the chains of the cuckoo clock as it was being hung.

Detwiler said all of the funds raised will go into a fund dedicated to the purchase of a new museum elevator, which will increase the ease of visitors traversing the three-story facility.

Recently, Detwiler filled out a grant request for $150,000 to the Reeves Foundation for capital improvement.

“We’re well into the process, and we’re excited about the ongoing effort to raise funds for something that will be a great addition to the museum,” Detwiler said. “It will add so much life to the museum, especially for individuals with health issues and disabilities.”

She said the total cost of installing an elevator is around $200,000 and will include additional work of digging out the pit in the museum’s basement, as well as building a control room.

Visit Alpine Hills Museum at www.alpinehillssugarcreek.com.

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