New clock gives Tisbury Main Street new face
From now on, no one in downtown Vineyard Haven will have an excuse for being late. On Monday, a new clock, topped with the words "Time to Read," took its place in front of the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, giving Main Street an attractive - and useful - focal point and meeting place.
"I think it"s spectacular," said Jon Nelson, the bookstore"s general manager. "I think it really brings a nice, little downtown center to the town. It"s very Rockwellian, which I think is appropriate. I think it signifies and complements the character of Tisbury." He added, "And at the same time, I hope it helps to make that a central focus of the town, especially since we"ve been part of the town for over 30 years - and plan on being here for at least another 30 more."
Mr. Nelson and his family bought the new clock, a French Quarter two-dial post clock, from Electric Time Company in Medfield. Standing 13 feet high, the clock and its post weigh about 385 pounds. Mr. Nelson came up with its design with help from his family and his mother Ann, and friends Richard, Linda, and Adin Heller.
"It answers the question without looking at the dial - what time is it? It"s time to read," Mr. Nelson joked.
With clock in place, three generations of the Nelson family, all Bunch of Grapes employees, take time to enjoy it. From top, Jon Nelson, his son Jon, daughter Briana, and mother Ann.
The 30-inch dial features the Bunch of Grapes logo, created from artwork by Mr. Nelson. Knowing the dial lights up at night, he admitted he lingered after work on Monday night to check it when darkness fell.
A blend of old-fashioned timepiece and modern technology, the clock receives satellite signals to keep correct time and to adjust for daylight savings time and power outages.
Tisbury"s department of public works director Fred LaPiana helped Mr. Nelson with the clock"s installation on Monday. Mark MacDonald of Cullen Electric connected the wiring. A backhoe was used to lift the clock on top of its post, and then Mr. Nelson climbed on the top step of a ladder to tighten the last bolt. His mother Ann and his children Briana and Jon, both employed at the bookstore, joined him in the festivities, as well as many Main Street business owners and bystanders. Mr. Nelson"s wife, Teresa, and his other children, Tricia and Nick, had obligations that kept them from being on hand for the clock launching.
Mr. Nelson said he officially threw the power on at 12:55 pm, and it took until 1:03 pm (precisely) for the clock to set itself.
Mark MacDonald helps Jon Nelson set the new clock on its post.
His mother said they started planning the clock project several years ago and had already received permission from the selectmen, town boards, and committees. Ann Nelson said when she had the front of the bookstore building redone in the late 1990s, contractor Leo DeSorcy suggested running underground conduit pipes for electricity.
During the Main Street renovation project a few years ago, Tisbury"s first street lamp went up where the clock now stands. The DPW asked Mr. Nelson if he would like the first street lamp since he already had the electrical conduit in place for the planned clock.
Although it took a few years from concept to clock, Ann Nelson said the timing seemed just right on Monday for the clock"s debut. "One of the things a clock symbolizes is the passage of time," she reflected. "And in addition to the passing of time, our family has experienced a passing of the torch. My son, as of the first of the year, owns all the stock in Bunch of Grapes, so along with the passing of time has come the passing of the torch."
Ms. Nelson, who continues to work at the bookstore part-time with her son as her boss, said she"s learning to adjust to his more hectic pace.
With Tisbury undergoing renovations to improve the downtown area, Ms. Nelson said she and her son, who is the president of the Tisbury Business Association, thought it was good opportunity to contribute to the beautification of the town and Island in appreciation for their years in business.
"This was what we thought the perfect time to give back to the town what the people of the town have given to us - the privilege of doing business with them," Ms. Nelson said. "It"s not easy keeping an independent bookstore alive today. We wanted to do something for the town, actually all of the towns, since everyone passes through Vineyard Haven."
When asked if he thought the new phrase in Vineyard Haven would be "meet me at the clock," Mr. Nelson laughed and said, "I certainly hope so - and while you"re there, maybe you"ll want to kill a little time by going in Bunch of Grapes and buying a book."