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Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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Time’s up for iconic South Tampa clock

TAMPA — A familiar face in South Tampa is headed into a long-awaited retirement.

“Cantankerous Quincy,” the 19-foot iron street clock that for years made its home on MacDill Avenue, outside the late Stan “The Clock Man” Good’s shop, has traveled more than 5,000 miles in its 130 years. It perhaps made its final journey earlier this month when staff members from the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Penn., drove down to retrieve the oversized device.

They disassembled the clock, which weighs about 3,000 pounds, and loaded it into a truck for the drive back to the museum, where it will be restored and put on display for future generations of clock and watch enthusiasts.

Quincy is a rare Ansonia street clock — one of the last of its kind still intact — said Noel Poirier, director of the National Watch and Clock Museum. And what’s more impressive is the museum knows exactly where the clock has been since it was made in Brooklyn in the late 19th century.

“It didn’t take long to convince me that this was something the museum really need to pursue,” Poirier said.

Quincy’s grizzled old face watched passersby on the streets of Quincy, Ill., Memphis, Mo., and Los Alamos, N.M., before Good erected the clock outside his shop in 1984.

Stan the Clock Man came to Tampa in 1973. He opened his clock repair shop at 107 S. MacDill Ave., and bought the clock from a private collector in New Mexico a few years later. He was the one who gave Cantankerous Quincy his name.

In 2011, Good told The Tampa Tribune he was retiring from the clock repair business and selling his property. He offered to sell Quincy at a discounted $30,000 if the property buyer agreed to leave the clock in its place near the street.

After Good died in October, the museum bought Quincy from Good’s wife for $18,000. Museum staffers still are evaluating how much it will cost to replace some of Quincy’s original Ansonia parts, repaint the clock and prepare it for display.

“We know it will take a long time but we’re very excited to do it,” Poirier said.

Ansonia clocks were made by the Ansonia Clock Company, a major clock manufacturer in the 19th century. The company, which was founded in 1850, didn’t survive the Great Depression, but at its height sold more than 400 models of clocks.

Quincy’s owners through the years deserve credit for keeping the clock in such good shape, especially because it always stood outside, Poirier said. Good handwrote Quincy’s history on one of the clock’s dials, which the museum will display as part of the exhibit.

Quincy, according to the museum, was bought new and put on display outside of Heinz and Rosenthal Jewelry store in Quincy, Ill., in 1884. In the 1920s it was sold and displayed outside McLane Jewelry in Memphis, Mo. While there, the clock was damaged when it was knocked down by city snow removal equipment after a snowstorm.

A private collector in New Mexico bought Quincy in 1969, repairing the clock and erecting it in his backyard. After that the clock came to Tampa.

The museum has created a Facebook page — Ansonia Street Clock Project — where the staff will update progress of the clock’s restoration. The page shows old black and white pictures of Quincy when it was in Illinois and Missouri.

“We thought it was really important that this particular example be preserved for future generations,” Poirier said.

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Twitter: @LizBehrmanTBO

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