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Riverside’s Historic Seth Thomas clock in need of restoration

As time takes its toll, Old Riverside Foundation rallies to breathe new life into its cherished Main Street sentinel.

Riverside's Seth Thomas clock stands in front of the California Tower at the corner of Main St. & Mission Inn Ave.

Riverside’s iconic Main Street Clock, a 16-foot-tall timepiece crafted by the renowned Seth Thomas Clock Company in 1908, is slated for restoration. The clock, one of only 71 of its kind produced by the company, has stood as a testament to Riverside’s history and has witnessed the city’s many transformations over the years.

Originally purchased in 1920 for $25,000 (equivalent to approximately $380,000 today), the clock was installed in front of Fisher’s Jewelry Store on Main Street. It was later relocated in front of the former Westbrook’s/Imperial Hardware and now stands at the intersection of Main St. & Mission Inn Ave.

Throughout its history, the clock has undergone several modifications and restorations. In 1921, lights were added to illuminate its face. The pedestrian transformation of Main Street in the 1960s saw the clock repainted in vibrant day-go colors. However, the 1980s brought neglect and vandalism. Thanks to preservationists in the 1990s, the clock was restored to its original hunter-green and gold colors. A traffic collision in 2009 led to another year-long restoration.

According to The Old Riverside Foundation (ORF), the City has committed to restoring the clock’s interior workings while the ORF and the local preservation community are launching a fundraising campaign for its exterior restoration, repainting, and protection. The foundation has pledged to match every dollar donated, aiming to raise a total of $5,000.

“This Riverside icon once again needs our attention,” said Dave Stolte, the president of Old Riverside Foundation. The community’s support will ensure that the Seth Thomas Clock remains a landmark for future generations.