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  • Ellen Mirro

4:20 O’Clock

Thursday, February 12, 2015, Larry spent most of the day observing the de-installation of the eight-dial Dexter Street Clock, a City of Seattle Landmark officially known as the West Earth Clock. The clock has a long and mysterious history that will soon be covered in another blog post.

It has taken several months to obtain the necessary approval, permits, find the right people, and the right time to schedule the job. The clock is approximately 20 feet tall and weighs several hundred pounds. The property owner, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., brought in Chuck Roeser of Essence of Time, a Lockport, New York, clock restoration company, as well as local street clock aficionado, Captain Paul Middens, USN retired, to guide the de-installation. Local art handler Artech handled all the heavy work, starting early in the morning and finishing up that evening.

The bezels, dials, hands, and head came off fairly easily, but presenting a little surprise. The clock dial had the original owner’s name, “M. G. Caplan,” etched onto the dial face, but an attempt was made to hide the name, suggesting the owner may have not been able to make the payments for the expensive clock. As a result Joseph Myer, the make of the clock, had taken it back.

After the head had been safely stowed away, the crew worked to remove the Corinthian column mounted above the cast iron base. We did not anticipate an internal steel pipe column, so the outer column had to be lifted vertically, with only minimum mandated safe distances to overhead high-power lines. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the column cleared the pipe.

It turned out that only one or two rusty nuts and one inch of concrete sidewalk was holding the clock from falling over. The clock is now safely crated and placed in secure storage. It will soon be shipped to Chuck’s shop in New York for complete restoration. We thank the Artech crew, Ryan McKinney, Carlos Valenzeula, Henry Spieker, and Cody Thomaselli, for doing a fantastic job on the project.

The clock has been stuck at 4:20 for several years.

The head comes down.

Cody Thomaselli, Chuck Roeser, and Paul Middens (L-R) examining the clock head.

Chuck holding Vitrolite dial while TJP’s Howard Miller tries to read the name of the former owner, M. G. Caplan.

A tricky maneuver.

Not much holding the base down.

The head stowed safely on its pallet

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