The Old Sutton Clock -- Volunteer wants to make it run again

Friday, June 3, 2005
John Hubert of McCook, a member of the board of directors of the Museum of the High Plains, stands beside the "Sutton Clock," situated now on the front lawn of the Carnegie Library Museum in downtown McCook. Hubert hopes that his repairs on the clock will coincide with an open house Saturday, June 11, to show off repairs inside the Carnegie Library.

By Connie Jo Discoe

Regional Editor

Given enough time, he chuckles, he'll get the clock to work.

John Hubert, an eight-year member of the High Plains Museum board of directors, is working to repair the museum's historic "Sutton street clock" before an open house for the museum's Carnegie Library scheduled June 11, during McCook's annual Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival.

The Carnegie Library built in 1907, became part of the museum when the City of McCook built a new library in 1968. It has since played "second fiddle" to the modern museum attached to it through a passageway at the museum's south door.

Members of the museum's library committee have spearheaded what will be an ongoing renovation of the library, and plan an open house to show it off during Buffalo Commons.

Hubert hopes repairs on the doubled-faced clock -- which sits on a grassy knoll outside the front door of the Carnegie Library -- will coincide with the open house.

"The west side is right on time," he said. " ... the east side, hmmm, oh well."

"I'm one of several who have worked on the clock over the last few years," Hubert said. "It works for a while and then ... "

"Given enough time," he chuckled, "we'll get it to work."

Hubert said the clock -- called a "street clock" -- is time-worn, and exposure to dirt and dust has taken its toll.

He explained that it requires a lot of coordination between the street clock -- the "slave" clock -- and the master clock located inside the museum.

"The master clock inside sends low-voltage impulses, which change the slave clock outside," Hubert explained. The inside clock looks like a regular "Western Union" clock, he said.

The "Sutton Clock" sat on the sidewalk outside of Col. H.P. Sutton's jewelry store -- one of McCook's first businesses -- at 216 Norris Ave., on the west side of McCook's main street in downtown McCook.

Sutton had come to McCook to organize and direct the Burlington Northern Railroad band and opened the jewelry store in 1899. H.P. Sutton's son, Harold Sutton, was the second generation to run the jewelry store.

The clock kept time on the sidewalk from 1908 until 1973, when it was moved to the museum.

"I've had a passion to make this clock go since I came on the museum board," Hubert said. "The west side has kept good time for two or three days now ... we'll see ..."

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