Thursday, September 15, 2016

These Old Walkin' Shoes: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

This week’s “Walkin’ Shoes” is about things that seem to be changing around Lockport all of a sudden. Northwest Bank just took over some of the Lockport Savings Bank sites in the area. Yes, I know it was First Niagara, but I still call it Lockport Savings Bank, just like it’s always going to be Harrisons rather than Delphi. That doesn’t mean that I’m completely stuck in the past. There are just some things that should not be changed as easy as flipping a switch.

If anyone has been by the bank at the corner of Washburn Street and East Avenue in the last 5 or 6 days, the change is immediately apparent. The tower with the time and temperature at the corner of the bank property is gone. That handy piece of equipment has been a staple of downtown Lockport since 1968. Its absence is startling.

Decorated for Christmas (even though it was 70 degrees)
with both the wreath and the clock on the corner.
I drive by that bank at least twice a day almost every day of the week. Sometimes it’s more often if I’m heading to the library or to Cornerstone Arena. So, last Friday, when I was driving home from work, I saw the crews taking down the old signs in order to put up the new ones. I also saw them working on the clock. I thought maybe they were just replacing the logo at the top. However, when I cruised back downtown on my way to the Express game, I saw that the whole device was completely gone.

When I first realized that the clock was gone, I thought maybe they were going to replace the whole thing with a new Northwest Bank styled clock. Monday rolled around and nothing. We’re up to Thursday and still nothing. Sure, they’re busy with the big changeover, and I know they have bigger issues to deal with like making sure the customers have access to their money.

An advertisement from the USJ
shoes a clock on the outside of
the F&M Building
I felt the question needed to be asked. I sent a message to the bank on their Facebook page regarding the status of the clock. Within 30 minutes, I had a response. The person in charge of the Facebook page said she did not know the answer to my inquiry and would direct my question to the correct department. It’s been since Monday, but I still haven’t heard anything and there’s been no change at the corner regarding a new clock. Keep in mind that they do have a ton of things to take care of in this transition. Honestly it is the least of their worries right now.

Why then even bring it up? Because the clock and temperature displayed at the corner has been a Lockport tradition since Lockport Savings Bank made the move from the old Farmers and Mechanics Building at the corner of  Main and Locust in 1968. There was some local uproar when the rotating clock was traded out for the stationary one a few years ago, so the complete removal has to have some people up in arms.

Ground was broken for the construction of a new building at the corner of Washburn Street and East Avenue on January 28, 1967. It took 479 days for the complex to be completed. In May, 1968, the new branch was opened.

At that time, “known among area residents is a machine on the outside of the bank which registers the time and temperature. The bank also maintains a special telephone service which tells callers the time and temperature.”

In essence, from  May 1, 1968 until September 9th, 2016, anyone in Lockport could learn the time and temperature by driving past Lockport Savings Bank on East Avenue. I’ve even found an advertisement that shows a clock on the F&M Building. So the tradition is even richer than the nearly 50 years that it was on that prominent East Avenue corner.
courtesy Universal Pictures

I hope that Northwest Bank is simply waiting on a new tower to put up in place of the old one. I’m sure they want something with their own logo on it. Maybe it just wasn’t ready to be put up when the changeover took place. Maybe it was a simple oversight.

At any rate, the clock and temperature at the corner of Washburn Street and East Avenue is a tradition that I hope we don’t lose in Lockport. At the same time, I also hope we don’t lose the tradition of the giant wreath on the building for the holidays. I’m not a holiday person, but seeing that wreath on the bank gives me that little glimmer of happiness during that cold, cold time of the year.

So, if anyone from Northwest Bank happens to read this (I’m sure they will since I plan on posting it to their page), please consider replacing the corner clock and temperature. I know I always glance over to the bank when I’m driving or walking by. What better way to get people to notice your business than having people always looking at your building? The same goes for the wreath. I am hereby putting Northwest Bank on notice that we want the clock and temperature back, and we want the wreath up for the holidays. We thank you, and welcome you to Lockport.

Craig bacon loves history and tradition. While he is not adverse to change, there are some traditions that are worth holding onto.