August 11, 2023
The clock at the Ninth Street entrance to the Ocean City boardwalk can no longer be counted on to display the correct time, in case anyone has noticed something amiss with its hands.
Ocean City leaders voted on Thursday night to approve the purchase of a replacement clock, which will cost $30,944.
An August 3 memo from Ocean City's manager of buildings and grounds describes the current clock as "beyond the useful life cycle and in disrepair," with both functional and appearance issues.
The clock's design is a replica of the timekeeping relics crafted by 19th century watch and clockmakers E. Howard & Co. and Seth Thomas Clock Company. Original Howard clock designs still grace prominent landmarks like Chicago's Wrigley Building and the San Francisco Ferry Building, while early Seth Thomas clocks are considered prized antiques.
The boardwalk clock in Ocean City was originally funded through private donations. It was installed in 2000 as part of a millennial celebration at one of the busiest and most recognizable sections of the boardwalk. It sits in the bench area between Manco & Manco Pizza and Shriver's Salt Water Taffy & Fudge. The clock's face, which lights up at night, features gold-painted accents.
The clock was originally made by the Verdin Company, a 181-year-old business based in Cincinnati that will provide the replacement. The company is known for its clock towers, chimes, bells and monuments. Its website describes post clocks as an early form of advertisement adapted from the popular clocks of Victorian England. They appeared in the U.S. in the 1870s, often placed in front of city halls, train stations, banks, jewelry stores and other public locations.
The memo seeking authorization for the purchase the replacement clock said the funds were already available in Ocean City's current capital budget, but the price required approval from city council.
Ocean City spokesperson Doug Bergen said the base of the clock includes a time capsule and a plaque with the names of the original donors.
For the new clock, the city also plans to keep all of the same details as the original. The existing foundation and electrical wiring will be kept, and the new clock will be installed by Verdin about 30-45 days after the purchase is made.