Thursday, August 9, 2001
'Twelve o'clock! It is the natural center, keystone, and very heart of the day." -- Herman Melville
For twelve'clock or any other time of day, a downtown needs a timepiece.
Thanks to International Museum of Carousel Art, downtown's signature clock is working for the first time in about 10 years.
The four-faced clock on the former First National Bank has been up and running for about two weeks. Museum owners Duane and Carol Perron saw the need to get the clock ticking, and volunteer Art Thompson put forth the time, expertise -- and his own money -- to set the hands in motion. The project gained additional impetus from Sharon Harvey and the ad hoc clock restoration committee.
Harvey, and others, found sentimental value in a clock that in bygone days served as a popular downtown meeting place.
That spirit is univeral; in the 1945 Judy Garland-Robert Walker movie, lovers reunite beneath "The Clock" where they met.
At least one other outdoor clock serves Hood River, but the museum clock is the only prominent one downtown. And the museum clock, though it needs further upgrades, has the look of a traditional town-square clock.
The pacing of the hands (hours and minutes -- Thompson said the seconds-hand will be removed) bring a new vitality to Oak Street. The empty clock face had been a mildly depressing facet of life on the town's busiest street.
A more modern writer than Melville, William Carlos Williams, must have seen clocks such as this when he wrote,
"The source of poetry that seeing the clock stopped says, The clock has stopped that ticked yesterday so well?"
Clocks tell us the time now, yet the clock at 3rd and Oak reminds us of our yesterdays.
The museum has done the community a service by bringing everyone up to date yet reminding us of a vibrant history.