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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

April 7, 2010 at 8:07 AM

It’s always a good time to go for a walk

nationalwalkday040710m.jpg
April 7, 1:28 p.m.

Wednesday was National Start! Walking Day and I complied with the recommended 30-minute walk exercise by taking this 1.54-mile loop around South Lake Union.
I added my own spin to the walk, stopping to sketch this street clock at Harrison St. and Dexter Ave., just a block away from the trail.
The clock, which happened to display the wrong time, features a colorful red paint job but actually has a sad story. “This clock stands in front of the last factory of Joseph Mayer,” said Seattle clock historian Rob Ketcherside via email. “Mayer made and sold all of the street clocks in Seattle. His spirit may inhabit this clock — he committed suicide at the office in 1937.”
Ketcherside also writes that the city can’t take direct action about the incorrect time since the clock is privately owned. City law says that street clocks must display accurate time but, on the other hand, this clock is covered by historic landmark preservation laws, explained Ketcherside. “It all hinges on the owner.”
Ketcherside pointed me to another clock with similar design you can see in Seattle Center’s Center House. The clock used to be at the entrance to Frederick & Nelson’s department store downtown.
Coincidentally, I’m writing all this with great timing. The Seattle Architectural Foundation in partnership with the Museum of History and Industry introduces Ketcherside’s clock tour on April 17.
It’ll be a longer walk, but I’m looking forward to taking it.

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