I took a picture of this street clock in Snohomish, WA thinking it was pretty, and that I would get around to researching its history later. (My photo is to the left. I stole the one above off of Pinterest because it offers a much better view of the clock face.) The downtown Snohomish area is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so everything here that looks old and pretty is probably worth researching. Then my dad was showing me his photos of town, and he had photographed the same clock…and showed me that the 11 was missing! The clock has two number twelves! I went back to town and checked the other side – no 11 there either! One of the many examples in my life of how I should pay more attention to the details.
Now on with the history. Not very many companies made street clocks in the early 1900’s, and the styling of the clock is the giveaway for which company made it. This clock was made by the Brown Street Clock Company. I found this bit on a clock collectors message board:
The Brown Street Clock Company manufactured street clocks in Monessen, PA (south of Pittsburgh) from 1906 until the mid-1920’s. While not as grand as the street clocks sold by Seth Thomas and E Howard, nevertheless the Brown Street Clock company sold hundreds of street clocks to jewelers and others that perhaps could not afford the more expensive clocks offered by the competition.
I also found who estimated it was made between 1910 -1915 based on the clocks distinguishing features. The building that it sits in front of was built in 1907 and held the First National Bank of Snohomish for over 50 years (according to HistoryLink.org, the state’s nonprofit history repository), so this date makes sense. But wait! Here’s a photo of downtown Snohomish from the 1920’s (from the Centennial Trail website), and it shows the clock across the street from its current location. Hmm…So when did it move? And why doesn’t it have a number eleven? This clock is much more interesting than I originally thought!