For years the clock at the La Plata County Courthouse has shown the time and chimed at the top of the hour. However, the past few weeks it has been silent and the hands unmoving. Why? Will it ever be working again? Its sound is much missed. – Marilyn, a chime lover in the neighborhood
You’ve probably heard people say La Plata County is a place of timeless beauty.
The county certainly has beauty.
And it’s certainly timeless – now that the courthouse clock has stopped working.
“We started noticing that the clock was losing minutes and running slow,” said Mark McKibben, the county’s director of general services. “Then it just stopped.”
The time was 5:36.
“Good thing it didn’t stop at 4:20 or all the stoners around here would turn it into a shrine,” Action Line snarkily remarked.
“But 5:36 is after work, so it’s always going to be happy hour!” Mark retorted without missing a beat.
Too bad the same can’t be said of the clock.
It will be missing more beats than a nerd in a disco while the county tries to find a horologist.
The clock – manufactured by the Seth Thomas Clock Co. of Thomaston, Connecticut – dates back to 1891.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find people who know how to do this kind of stuff,” Mark lamented.
“The last time the clock stopped working, we had to fly out a repair person from the East Coast. So we’re looking around for somebody closer.”
Durango native Anthony Ferdinando used to be the go-to guy.
A master machinist, craftsman and mechanic, Anthony restored the clock in 1988. It was a labor of love that took 600 hours of work for which he didn’t ask a penny.
In 2016, he passed away at age 94, leaving a legacy of civic pride, selflessness and community service.
Not only did Anthony fix the county’s antique timepiece, but he actively campaigned for the Perins Peak and Bodo wildlife areas.
He also taught countless kids how to be safe with firearms, a legacy from his decorated World War II service as a tail-gunner on a B-24 Liberator, successfully flying 35 terrifying missions over Europe.
America needs more Anthonys these days. Read about his amazing life here: https://tinyurl.com/dgo-anthony.
So it’s going to take some time, so to speak, to find a qualified clock fixer-upper.
Action Line suggested the county put up a cellphone in the tower – because that’s what everyone uses to tell time these days.
“Um, no,” replied Mark, who admitted that he used to wear a pocket watch but now has a cellphone in the space once occupied by an elegant Bulova.
Action Line then suggested Mark get together with the folks at the Crossroad Building down the street.
Their big clock also has issues. Maybe the county and Crossroads could go halfsies on the repair bill.
Or maybe split the bill in three if the clock above the Irish Embassy could be included.
With all the public clocks on the fritz, no wonder everyone in this town is running late.
But that’s just a lame excuse. People are tardy because “the Durango lifestyle” has institutionalized lackadaisical behavior.
Haven’t you noticed that the people who are chronically late are the ones who don’t really have anything important to do?
Perhaps it’s time to stop chiming in about the Beautiful People.
Alarmed, they might clock Action Line – with a kayak paddle, a sweaty yoga mat or their new Leki carbon trekking pole.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you set your watch by the train whistle.