A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Tower clocks: How about a permanent fix?

Written September 20th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

It was a warm sunny day in September, and the clocks at Albany Station said … what?

Compared to homelessness, say, or world hunger, the clock tower at Albany Station showing four different times, all wrong, isn’t much of a problem. But you’d think it would be easier to fix.

I mentioned a few days ago that the clocks were on the blink — again. On Monday nothing had changed.

It was 12:37 p.m. when the bike took me past the station and I checked the four clocks on the tower.

They showed 1 o’clock on the north, 12:10 on the south, 1:10 on the east, and something hard to decipher on the west, where the minute hand was correct but the hour hand was off.

Somehow this reminded me of George Orwell’s “1984,” which begins: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

Over the last two years, the Albany Station clocks have been repaired at least twice.

The City of Albany owns the station and the tower. You’d think that sooner or later the mayor, the council or somebody in charge would take notice and push for a permanent fix. (hh)

The west face has sunlight and the north face is in the shade.


The south side (sunny) and the east side at 12:37 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2022.

Postscript: A city spokesman told me Tuesday that a facilities maintenance crew was on their way to get the clocks reset.

Later Tuesday, I went by the station and found that the clocks had indeed been set to the right time, which was 4:17 when I approached from the west.

But by the time I parked the bike and looked at the east-facing clock a minute or two later, that clock showed 5:19.

That’s what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun. (hh)

8 responses to “Tower clocks: How about a permanent fix?”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    Here’s a start, maybe…


    “Electric Time Company has been in continuous operation since the early 1900s. We are an offshoot of Telechron, the first self-starting synchronous electric clock company. Incorporated in the state of Massachusetts USA in 1928 we have grown to a firm that has over 10,000 tower clock and street clock installations on every continent, including Antarctica.”

  2. Hartman says:

    Hasso, you and all others agitated by Albany’s incompatible time pieces all along the clock tower, must consider time as Einstein did.

    Time passes more slowly or more quickly depending on the speed one travels. Hence, a train passing through will view clock time in one way, while a passenger in a car another and a shuffling passerby yet another. What we perceive as time passing depends on who is observing. Time and space are relative.

    Perhaps the City Mothers, Fathers and Middle Managers are more tuned-in to the relativistic nature of things than previously thought. Perhaps what you’ve pointed to as incorrect is actually more in tune with reality. Leave the clocks as they are: the randomness of this situation is both amusing and providential.

  3. centrist says:

    Or just maybe, there are more pressing issues. Not all problems require necessary, much less urgent, solutions.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    You expect too much from a city that won’t fix its streets.

    Fix a time-challenged clock? Surely, you jest.

  5. Ann Saint says:

    Hasso, you are here by appointed the position of father Time. Enjoy.

  6. Teresa says:

    Maybe Albany is trying to become the city that cannot tell time. New tourist attraction. Come see the city clock tower where every clock is wrong.

  7. The beast says:

    Set all 4 clocks to the same time and then turn them off
    At least then, they will be correct 2 times a day

  8. Richard Vannice says:

    Replace them with sundials. That way they would all be continuously wrong at the same time, if it is daylight.
    Apparently these clocks are NOT very modern since most of the reliable time pieces in use today are all electronically, automatically set by, I think, some place in Colorado. Even the thermostat in your thermostat has this feature. If you have traveled cross country you cell phone changes when you hit a time zone change.

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