12th & Imperial clock tower
  • 12th & Imperial clock tower
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When folks heading for the 12th & Imperial Transit Center would look up at the southeasterly face of the four-sided clock tower, the face visible from 13th Street and National Avenue, it would read 8:45. And when they returned, say, four hours later, it would still be 8:45, not 12:45. According to the clock, 12, or even 24, hours may have passed.

The chronic problems with the clock atop the tower of the Mills building at 12th Street and Imperial Avenue are at an apparent end. The clock was often stuck on the wrong time for hours or swinging erratically in such a way that it was 11:10 one minute and 11:40 the next, a speedy half-hour for which there's no reckoning.

Rest easy, a county spokesperson suggests, the problem has been found. The stop-and-start motor that especially sputtered in the wake of power outages was officially deemed defective and a new one, replaced at no charge under warranty, has been installed.

"It was an intermittent problem,” said county spokesman Gig Conaughton via email. “It [the clock] stopped working correctly, then started working correctly, giving the impression that it was fixed. I don’t know how many times that happened before it was decided we needed a new motor."

Meanwhile, at the Old Town Transit Center, analog and digital clocks had been warring since at least last March 12, when daylight savings time debuted. Instead of being sprung forward then, the elegant hands of a stately and stolid clock, analog, replete with Roman numerals, stayed in place. So until last week, when it was fixed, this clock had been running an hour behind the time on the digital displays along the passenger platforms.

Metropolitan Transit System employees have re-set the analog clock and it tells the right time, in sync with the flashing digitals. When standard time arrives on November 5, the old clock on the wall at Old Town presumably will have been re-set once again, falling back all 60 Roman-numericized minutes.

UPDATE

On Monday, October 2nd, with the west-facing clock now in synch at the Old Town station, it was noticed that a twin clock, which faces south, was stopped, its slender hands going nowhere, stuck at 4:19.

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