Equal in status to Jacobs Jewelers as a Downtown landmark, the historic clock associated with the store has been in front of the business for more than 120 years.
Probably Jacksonville’s oldest remaining retailer, the store opened when Damon Greenleaf moved from New York City and then established a jewelry store on Bay Street two years after the Civil War ended.
He was joined in 1890 by J.H. Crosby and the company became known as Greenleaf & Crosby.
The ornate, four-dialed timepiece was manufactured by the Seth Thomas Clock Company in Connecticut.
It was placed along Bay Street when the store was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1901.
The clock is one of only 100 of its design manufactured and one of fewer than 10 that remain in operation.
It was made part of the streetscape to be a symbol of Jacksonville’s resiliency and rebirth despite most of the city burning to the ground May 3, 1901.
The clock was moved to its current location when the store relocated in 1927 when the Greenleaf & Crosby Building opened at the northwest corner of Adams and Laura streets.
In 1930, Greenleaf and Crosby sold the store’s fixtures to V.E. Jacobs.
Roy and Delorise Thomas bought the business and the 15-foot-tall clock in 1968.
It had to be completely refurbished in 1973 after a city bus jumped the curb and destroyed the timepiece.
“It was in about 200 pieces,” Roy Thomas said.
The next refurbishment was completed in 1995, the year the clock was gifted by the Thomases to the city and the people of Jacksonville.
The clock was removed in 2011 for construction of the Laura Street improvement project.
The city awarded a $51,000 contract to the I.T. Verdin Co. in Cincinnati to restore the housing and replace the original mechanical clock with modern technology that keeps time and sets the clock electronically.
It was returned to its place in front of Jacobs Jewelers in April 2013.
Thomas said that as far as he knows, the clock will remain on the corner after the couple retires and the store closes Jan. 31.
“But you never know what the city might do,” he said.