Market Square Clock Tower in Houston

Photo of Market Square Clock Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Market Square Clock Tower in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz

Market Square Clock Tower
Official name:Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower

301 Travis Street, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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Not so much a timepiece as it is a way for the City of Houston to say, "Oops." The Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower houses one of the city's most prized artifacts, and one that was missing for decades. The clock was commissioned in 1904 and was originally in a bell tower at Houston's fourth city hall which was located on Market Square. The Seth Thomas was put into crates and stored in the basement of the old city hall when the local government moved to Bagby Street. The two were separated, and the bell ended up inside Fire Station Number one now the downtown Aquarium restaurant. By 1960 the clock was put into storage, and like most pieces of history in Houston, it was forgotten, sold, or stolen. Pick your poison. In any case, it ended up in East Texas and was found at a theme park in Woodville in 1988. The city brought the clock back to town where it belongs and paired it with an old fire bell. The bell was cast in 1876 was adorned the third Houston City hall, which was also on Market Square, but burned to the ground in 1903.

Quick Facts
Notes
    >The clock was supposed to start working at 11:00am 9 May, 1996. But because of too many long speeches by politicians, the 11 chimes didn't sound until five minutes past the hour. This is, perhaps, indicative of how Houston's politicians in their search for personal prominence leave the city behind the times.
    >The clockworks were restored in Minnesota by Loyd Larish.
    >The clock must be wound every eight days.
    >The clock weights are actually inside the hollow legs of the clock tower.
    >The clock faces are 7 feet across.
    >The clock cost $1,100.00 in 1904.
    >The bell weighs 2,800 pounds.
    >The bell was made by A. Fulton's Son and Company in Pittsburgh.
    >The clock tower was paid for by construction worker Saul Friedman and his wife, Elaine. It was named for Saul's parents who were Hungarian immigrants.
    >Land for the clock was donated by the family of Frank K. Meyer.
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