Sunday, October 24, 1999

Uptown clock adorns Oxford logo


Timepiece a local landmark

BY RANDY McNUTT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — If most people were asked to identify the city's most recognizable 20th-century landmarks, they might say the water tower (now gone) and Miami University's Roudebush Hall.

        Not the Uptown clock.

        It has seemingly been around forever, blending into the background for generations.

        But lately its profile has been raised.

        Hosack's (pronounced Hoe-sack's) clock, perched atop a pole near the old Miami Theater (now the First Run restaurant), is available for the world to see on Oxford's new city logo.

        The free-standing clock is in front of 32 E. High St., but in mid-century it stood across the street, in front of a jewelry store.

        “They must have moved the clock across the street in the 1940s,” said Charles Kennedy, a retired police officer. “I remember that it used to have Roman numerals, but now it has regular numbers.”

        Council recently adopted a city logo that includes the clock and a reference to Miami University, which dominates this city in northwestern Butler County.

        “They just got (the clock) running two weeks ago,” said Donna Heck, council clerk.

        “It has run periodically over the years. They've added some little balls that hung from it originally. It looks nice.”

        It was erected by jeweler Frank A. Schweeting, who sold it to another jeweler, Herbert Hosack. He moved it across High Street and put his last name on it.

        There it has stood, through war and peace, recession and boom times.

        In March 1979, the city bought the clock for $1,000 because it was “long identified with the city of Oxford, so that the same may continue to be enjoyed by the public,” Mayor Caroline H. Hollis said in a council resolution.

        After the purchase, Patrolman Kennedy was given the official job of restarting the old clock when it failed.

        “I took the responsibility of keeping that thing going,” he said. “Well, everything that could go wrong with it did go wrong. The works need greasing a lot; it runs 15 minutes slow.

        “It started out as a wind-up clock, but it was reworked as an electric model many years ago. A lot of times people would put on concerts Uptown, and they'd turn off what we called the Christmas tree switch, figuring they didn't need it. But it also worked the clock. When they'd do that, the clock had to be reset every time.”

       



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