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Clock tower can't get the shaft

July 13, 2000

Clock tower can't get the shaft



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Clock TowerThe clock in the Clock Tower Building in Hagerstown's Public Square doesn't tell time and it's unknown when it ever will.

The face has no hands, but it's the shafts that make the hands turn that are the real missing pieces.

Building owner and Hagerstown architect Kurt Cushwa says he can find and afford all the parts needed to finish the clock, except for the piece that turns the minute and hour hands separately, which he described as a shaft within a shaft.

Cushwa said he has been in contact with people from all over the world in search of that piece. Recently, he found some clock makers in Estonia who said they could do the job themselves for $50,000. But Cushwa says that's too much money.

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He has also been in contact with an English company that wants to sell him a whole tower clock.

But Cushwa's not interested in installing a new clock. The plan all along was that the Clock Tower Building would house the 160-year-old Town Clock that once kept time in the tower of the old City Hall. The clock's surviving face and its works were to be featured in the exterior glass display case stretching three stories above the doorway at the corner of North Potomac and East Washington streets.

The original clock mechanism, with gears and a pendulum, sits on the third floor of the building, behind glass and facing the square. A replica of the original clock face is also in place. Cushwa had hoped to use the original clock face, but he said it is cracked and probably wouldn't survive a move into the building.

The pieces that connect the gears and pendulum to the clock face are missing.

"The drive mechanism is the whole thing that's needed. I could make all but the shaft within a shaft piece," said Cushwa.

"We'll finish as soon as we find the parts. It could be tomorrow it could be two years," said Cushwa. "But nobody makes these anymore so who do you go to?"

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