Downtown Residents Present New Gay Street Clock

04 Dec Downtown Residents Present New Gay Street Clock

From the Mayor’s Office
City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Bill Haslam, Mayor

Hope ClockMayor Bill Haslam took part in the unveiling of the new Gay Street Clock as well as representatives from the Central Business Improvement District and Knox Heritage.

At Tuesday’s meeting city council voted on a resolution accepting the clock as a gift.

The new 12-foot-high timepiece will replace the old clock, originally installed in 1897 by Hope Brothers Jewelers that was a Gay Street fixture until the company that currently owns it removed the clock to a new location in West Knoxville in 2004.

The move prompted a group of downtown residents to begin fundraising efforts to buy and install a new clock – though it had to be a reasonable replica of the old one – on Gay Street and deed it to the city.

That way no one could take this one away from downtown.

“A few of us were sitting around and said, ‘Well, let’s just raise the money and put a new one out there,’ ” said Wayne Blasius, a downtown developer, who was part of the group that included Ann Marie Tugwell, John Worden and Chuck Morris.

Blasius said that led to several donations in the $200 to $500 range, “but we wanted it to be a community project.”

The group subsequently held a series of fundraisers at places like Preservation Pub, MacLeod’s, Sapphire and the Downtown Grill & Brewery.

Hope Clock“There were a lot of $1, $5, and $20 donations in there and the point was that probably 200 people donated,” Blasius said. “So there was a real sense of buy in about it.”

Dewhirst Properties is donating the installation of the clock and the city’s Public Service Division will maintain it.

For more information about the Gay Street Clock please contact Wayne Blasius at 637-3400 or wb@insiteknoxville.com

In addition to donations from many interested citizens, the following organizations provided significant funding or in-kind contributions to the Gay Street Clock project: Bank East, CBID, Centre Square II, Courtland Group, Crowne Plaza @ Summit, Dewhirst Properties, Downtown Grill & Brewery, Gary Heatherly Photography, Gilreath & Associates, InSite Development Corporation, MacLeods, Morris Creative Group, Nama, Pittman Properties, Preservation Pub, Regas Restaurant, Sapphire, Segundo Properties, Ulrich Printing, Worden, Rechenbach & Brooke.

This article originally appeared on the City of Knoxville’s Website.