Monday Breakdown: Downtown clocks

December 16, 2012
  • Two clocks in Hagerstown's Public Square  at bottom right and top left  showed different times last week. Neither was correct.
By Andrew Schotz

What time is it?

In downtown Hagerstown, the answer isn’t clear unless you’re wearing a watch or carrying a smartphone.

This unsigned note came to The Herald-Mail in the mail last week: “There are 2 clocks in the square in Hagerstown and they both have the wrong time?”

The tipster was right. At about 1:55 p.m. Wednesday, a clock on a pole on Public Square’s southeast corner read 2:53.

On the northeast corner, a clock at the top of the High Rock building read 2:20.

Asked about the clock on his building, Rich Daughtridge, High Rock Studios’ founder and president, wrote lightedheartedly in an email: “We haven’t changed the time because we’re still hopeful to go ‘back in time’ when downtown was thriving. We’re not sure what’s next for downtown, but we’re optimistic.”

Reached afterward by phone, Daughtridge didn’t know how long the clock had been wrong.

“We haven’t had time to worry about it,” he said. “We probably need to change the battery.”

The clock on the southeast corner, in front of the former R. Bruce Carson Jewelers store, bears the name of the business, which moved to the Stone House Square shopping center in Hagerstown’s North End.

Esther Newcomer, a co-owner of the business, said Friday she thinks the jewelry store sold the Public Square clock to the City of Hagerstown many years ago for $1.

The business’ website says: “Until 1945, the clock’s mechanisms were spring powered and a Carson employee needed to hand wind the clock. At that time, Potomac Edison took ownership of the clock and switched it to electric mechanics. Once cleaned and reassembled, it was placed at it’s (sic) current home in Public Square in front of Carson Jewelers.”

City of Hagerstown spokeswoman Erin Wolfe didn’t have more information about the city taking possession of the clock or maintaining it.

When Daylight Savings Times ended in early November, Wolfe said, the city tried to adjust the clock back one hour, to its proper time, but couldn’t because of a mechanical problem.


— Andrew Schotz

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Monday Breakdown
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Hagerstown MD 21740

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