Clock’s recovery a matter of time, money
Effort seeks to buy back Central Terminal concourse timepiece
By MARK SOMMER
News Staff Reporter
Time, the saying goes, waits for no man. Clocks – well, they’re another matter.
A 13-foot-tall, cast-iron timepiece with four lighted clock faces was a fixture in the Central Terminal concourse until the last Amtrak train left the station in 1979.
Now, a local campaign is under way to buy it from a Chicago architectural salvage store and return it to the art deco landmark.
Stuart Grannen, owner of Architectural Artifacts – carriers of “pieces of intrigue, objects of a lost world, the aesthetic and the beautiful” – has been asking $38,000 for the clock, but told The Buffalo News he would lower the price to $25,000.
“It’s spectacular, and it needs to go back to the terminal,” Grannen said. “I will help anyway I can as long as I don’t lose money.”
Grannen said he paid $15,000 to a Buffalo art dealer in the 1990s for the clock – he couldn’t remember what year – and had added expenses that included transportation and repair of the light faces.
The new asking price, he said, factors in accounting, legal and appraisal costs associated with the transaction. He said he also hopes for a tax write-off.
“It’s a $100,000 clock on the open market. I don’t think I can get the $100,000 in Chicago, but I think you could somewhere,” Grannen said.
The Central Terminal Restoration Corp., which has been involved in restoring the former terminal, and radio station WBEN have teamed up to buy back the clock.
Talk-show host Tom Bauerle said the station had received an enthusiastic response from listeners since he and Russell Pawlak, the terminal restoration group’s president, discussed the idea on-air Monday.
Pawlak said the group had considered buying the clock several years ago but lacked the funds.
The gold metallic clock, which stands above a circular configuration of radiators, was discovered on an eBay auction Web site, selling for $29,000 in November 1999.
“At that time the Central Terminal had the grant money and was budgeted to buy it, but we decided to fix the roofs and masonry instead,” Pawlak said.
Later, businessmen James Sandoro and Sam Savarino made an unsuccessful attempt to buy the clock.
Sara Etten, one of the restoration group’s board members, and another volunteer traveled to Chicago last October to see the clock for themselves.
“I was completely awestruck. I have never been so excited in my life to see a clock,” Etten said.
She found one of the clock faces had cracked, and no clock works inside.
But she said she was told it would be relatively easy for the clock to be repaired and working again.
To make a donation, send payment to the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., P.O. Box 468, Buffalo, NY 14212.