The relocation last week of Bowling Green’s historic downtown clock demonstrated not only that different local groups can work together for the community’s common good, but also that preservation and progress are not necessarily competing concepts.
There surely are some longtime residents who bristle at the change: After all, the Seth Thomas Clock Co. pedestal clock has been a literal downtown fixture. It had stood on State Street since 1913 – first in front of 906, then in front of 922 from 1946 onward. It was a familiar sight in the Fountain Square area for more than a century, and we too would probably decry its loss from the downtown landscape in the absence of a reasonable alternative.
Fortunately, there was an alternative – two of them, in fact, both of which would seem to enhance Bowling Green’s downtown.
First, the Seth Thomas clock, which has not functioned for more than a year, is now settled into its new home outside the historic Warren County Courthouse. Built in 1869, the courthouse is of roughly the same vintage as the clock, and its location on East 10th Avenue keeps the clock easily accessible and visible to anyone who wishes to see it.
Meanwhile, back on State Street, the Bowling Green Rotary Club plans to dedicate in September a $24,000 Verdin Clock Co. pedestal clock it purchased to commemorate the club’s 100th anniversary. Classic in its design but modern in its mechanics, the new clock will maintain the stately presence of the original Seth Thomas clock, but with contemporary appointments that should keep it ticking for generations to come.
The Rotary Club donated the original clock to Warren County government, and the two entities’ cooperation on this project is commendable. We wholeheartedly support the protection and preservation of our historic landmarks when doing so is feasible and reasonable, but we also enjoy when our city grows and evolves in ways that are respectful to its legacies and traditions. It might sometimes seem impossible for both to occur simultaneously, but this scenario certainly proves otherwise.
We look forward to the unveiling of the Rotary Club’s new clock on State Street, which figures to become a classic landmark in its own right. But we also appreciate that we still have the opportunity to enjoy the history and aesthetics of the original Seth Thomas clock at its new location just a few steps away.