You may have read some of the newspaper articles about the need to keep our town clock in tune with the correct time. Both Katie Watts and Janelle Wetzstain wrote articles in 2013 that provided readers with significant information about the history of our town clock on top of the Masonic Lodge at the corner of Petaluma Boulevard and Western Avenue.
The story behind this Seth Thomas clockworks is that it was shipped from Thomaston, Connecticut; came around Cape Horn, 131 years ago and then up what is now named Petaluma River on the Steamer Pilot on May 18, 1882. When the original tower was first being discussed, the Argus published an article titled “Ho, for the Town Clock” that stated: “The town clock is a public necessity. The young want it to tell what time to go to school; the old to tell what time to go home. Men want it so they can pawn their watches, and women want it so they can look out their chamber windows and see if their husbands lie when they come home. The clock will not only be a great convenience, but will prove a positive conservator of public morals.”
In 2007, the clock’s inner mechanism stopped working and was sent to the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute for repairs. Keeping such an old clocks accurate is difficult and needs to have periodic adjustments. What many Petalumans may not realize is that the clock mechanism of today is encased in a different tower structure than when it was first installed. When the clock’s enclosure was replaced in 1934 with a copper-clad tower, the original clock mechanism was kept in tact.
Hopefully, the City, which owns the clock and is responsible for its upkeep, will continue to keep the clock for our favorite river town … on time. We’ll be listening for the chimes at midnight on December 31st. Happy New Year!