An icon of its shopping center and an Upper Arlington landmark, the four-faced clock at Tremont Center recently was refurbished and returned to the home it's had since the 1950s.

When Emilie Smith, co-owner and manager of the Original Goodie Shop, called the more-than-1,000-pound clock that stands amid the parking lot "our clock," it hits at the how much the timepiece is a part of the center and community.

According to the archives from the Upper Arlington News, the clock, which was built in the 1920s, was moved to the center from downtown Columbus in 1954.

Thus, it's been there longer than any of the merchants, and it's become the center's symbol.

"People will say, 'Just meet me by the clock,' and people know what that means," Smith said. "I am so glad that they brought it back.

"I think it's such an iconic piece of Tremont Center that we needed it back. We've had many customers come in and wondered where the clock went."

The Seth Thomas clock, which was commissioned by jeweler H.J. Heimber, was removed from the center May 8 to be refurbished. The $85,000 project, which included having Cincinnati-based Verdin Clock Co. convert it from manual to electric operation, was reinstalled Oct. 29.

The electronic conversion enables the clock to keep time and illuminates its faces at night. In addition, it received a fresh coating of paint and now chimes every hour on the hour. It also has the ability to chime melodies to songs.

"It was a complete rehab," said Steve Hess, vice president of property management for Kohr Royer Griffith, which managers Tremont Center. "They dismantled everything. They sandblasted all the paint off of it. They did repairs, restored. They took the faces off and repainted.

"You will still be able to tell it's an old clock. But as far as a rehab goes, it was pulled completely apart."

Previously, the clock had to be wound every three days to keep time.

Smith said that sometimes led to lapses when the clock wasn't displaying the correct time.

Hess said the sentimentalist in him is sad to see the clock be converted to electric but noted the benefits of the updates.

"Because of the illumination and the chiming, the owners of the center felt that was the right direction to go to make it pop, to make it stand out," he said.

"It shines all night long now."

Hess said the clock would be set to chime song melodies periodically and anticipates that will start soon.

"I don't want to play songs every day and lose some of the novelty," he said. "I think throughout the Christmas season, we'll probably play a couple songs throughout the day."

Hess said the center's owners, descendants of Tremont Center developer King Thompson, commissioned the restoration because merchants wanted it to remain and because it's become as much a focal point of the center's brand as the businesses that operate there.

"Not only from the center's marketing perspective, but a lot of the merchants here incorporate it into some of ther advertising, also," he said. "It stands out. It sets prominent out here in the middle of the center.

"The investment should tell you how important the clock is to the center. The Goodie Shop would be an institution of the center. The clock, it's an institution of the center."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate