Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We'll Meet Under the Town Clock

“What is the history of the clock?” I asked of the distinguished-looking gentleman in the crisp suit. I judged him to be at least close to the level of octogenarian, and was expecting a discourse on the timepiece that would…well… reach back in time…

I was talking to Bank of Monroe president and CEO, Ralph Mann, a man, who, as I understand it, still shows up for work every day.

“It came from Boston via Ohio,” he said.

I’m expecting the tale of the clock to unfold, and involve, perhaps, a mule over many miles, of difficult terrain, taking weeks, maybe a little rain, sleet, snow or wind thrown in for good measure…? Wrong!

“I’d always wanted an outside clock in front of the bank." he said. “In times past, when a meeting was to take place, the participants always declared, ‘We’ll meet under the Town Clock’. So I got a town clock.”

“How old is the clock?” I asked reverentially…

“Oh, maybe ten years…?”

O.K. So it’s not old. In fact, it’s rather new! Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful clock. According to Mann, and despite its classic appearance, it’s completely automatic. It even resets itself for daylight savings time without anyone’s having to touch a single dial. It keeps time flawlessly and adds its own touch of character to this sweet little country village.

In my mind, the clock seems perfectly emblematic of the tiny town of Union, the county seat of Monroe County, not far from where we live, JOTOLR. To me, it is reflective of the way things “used to be.” The Bank of Monroe opened for business on January 28, 1904. Obviously, it’s weathered a lot of storms through the years. Today, the clock -–modern as it is—stands in front of a venerable institution which has been around a long time, and it reinforces the sturdy values, the spirit of community, and deep-in-the-land roots that go back over a century.


  1. Oh I wish our new town clock looked this lovely! For years we had a huge digital thing on the side of a building in the main street then one day last year it fell (narrowly missing someone) and there has been a town debate as to whether it should be replaced. Despite it's ugliness everyone missed it so we are getting a new one, albeit digital but slightly better looking. Julia

  2. These are the kinds of banks that everyone should patronize, not the "too big to fail" banks like Bank of America, Chase, Citi, etc. I have used credit unions and local banks all my life and refuse to give these greedy behemoths a dime of my money. In fact, I carry one credit card from Bank of America that I haven't paid interest or fees on in ten years, and get points to boot when I use it, which I cash in every few years for cash. I love it when they pay me money. I hope they bleed money until they go out of business...assuming our government will let them next time, and there will be a next time. Thomas

  3. Our local town stone clock tower was built in 1862 to commemorate Prince Albert. It is known as 'The Four Liars' as each face shows a slightly different time. Devon time is quite flexible anyway so this has been left as a local quirke. The clock tower stands in 'The Square' which is an irregular 3-sided shape! Old post cards show the open area being used by the local volunteer cavalry regiment for their summer camp. In my time the clock and fountain stood in formal garden at the centre of a roundabout (circular roadway). Local manners decreed that despite traffic already on the roundabout having priority it was accepted that each car on the roundabout would stop and allow one car to emerge from each of the 2 side roads. That way nobody had to wait to long to get onto the 'Old bridge' across the river. A few yeards ago the town planners changed all the roads into a complex one-way system, reduced the formal garden and put in a large plaza in front of the museum where small free open air concerts are held for festivals, new Year etc.