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SLU 10880 Hammond,
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HISTORIC CLOCK INSTALLED ON SOUTHEASTERN
CAMPUS -- Danny Jackson of ERS Building Maintenance of Baton Rouge guides
the top of a newly refurbished clock in place on the Southeastern Louisiana
University campus. The clock, a fixture in downtown Hammond for years,
was donated to the university through the efforts of the late Judge Leon
HISTORIC CLOCK NOW KEEPING
TIME AT SOUTHEASTERN
HAMMOND -- When clock restorer Rob
Butts visited Southeastern Louisiana University last summer to look
at the feasibility of restoring a near century-old clock, his first thought
was, “It’s going to take a lot of work.”
Five months of cleanup and major fabrication
work later, the clock that once adorned the Citizens National Bank on the
corner of West Thomas and North Oak streets in downtown Hammond, now keeps
time for students as they cross the campus. Under the watchful eye of Butts,
crews affixed the shiny copper timepiece to a corner of McClimans Hall,
one of Southeastern’s oldest buildings located on Friendship Circle. Mike
Lama, who works at Whitney National Bank and helps maintain the bank’s
signature clocks, supervised the general operation, as a work crew from
ERS Building Maintenance of Baton Rouge handled the installation.
Similar in design to the Whitney National
Bank clocks, the timepiece, once a landmark on Hammond’s main street, was
manufactured by O.B. McClintock of Minneapolis.
The clock – estimated to have been
built between 1915 and 1920 – was donated to Southeastern by AmSouth Bank,
the successor to Citizens National. The late Judge Leon Ford III of Hammond,
whose wife had served on the board of Citizens National, convinced AmSouth
to donate the clock to his alma mater.
“The clock carried a lot of memories
for Judge Ford and a lot of other people in the region,” said Southeastern
President Randy Moffett. “He was determined to see that it was preserved
and sincerely felt that it could serve as another symbol of Southeastern
that our students would remember long after they left the university.”
“Judge Ford truly believed that this
clock was an important part of the history of Hammond and should be displayed
prominently,” said Joe Miller, vice president for university advancement.
“His preference was to have the clock in close proximity to McClimans Hall,
which at one time housed the Southeastern Lab School which he attended.”
Miller said that prior to Ford’s death
last year, the Ford Family Foundation donated funds to the university to
have the clock fully restored.
“The clock was in really bad shape,”
said Butts, who restores old clocks with his wife Shelley in the town of
Vasser in southeast Michigan. “It had been stored in warehouses for several
years, the mechanisms didn’t work, the copper sheeting was dented and misshapen
beyond repair. It required a lot of new fabrication.”
The clock’s copper finish gleams right
now, but Butts said that will change in a year or so as weathering sets
in and the piece develops the warm green patina characteristic of the metal.
The clock now has all new movements and a master control. In addition,
new green stained glass panels featuring Southeastern’s logo was fitted
into the lower panels of the structure.