The Story Behind the Street Clock at Laura and Adams
The cast-iron street clock in front of Jacobs Jewelers is among downtown Jacksonville’s most distinctive features, often starring in Instagram posts and tourist photos.
But how did this unique piece of Americana end up at the corner of Laura and Adams?
The clock was originally installed in 1901, shortly after the Great Fire. Jewelry company Greenleaf & Crosby’s storefront had been destroyed in the fire, so they moved down the street to 41 W. Bay St. and gained approval to install a street clock in front of it.
The clock was built by Seth Thomas Clock Company, which gained fame in the 1800s as the country’s best clockmakers. They were the main producers of street clocks, which were a popular downtown amenity in cities. The clocks were usually installed in front of prominent jewelry stores.
In the mid ‘20s, Greenleaf & Crosby commissioned a new twelve-story building at 208 N. Laura St. – and decided to bring their street clock with them, having it installed at the corner of Laura and Adams streets when the move was completed in 1927.
Just a few years later, Greenleaf & Crosby became Jacobs Jewelers – the name it still goes by today.
In the ‘70s, the clock had to be briefly removed after it was plowed into by a city bus. Jacobs paid to have it expertly restored and refurbished.
Jacobs donated the clock to the city in the mid ‘90s.
The clock underwent another refurbishment earlier this decade, this time to add computerized elements and give it a fresh coat of paint. It was reinstalled by the city in 2013.
Today, it still sits at the corner of Laura and Adams in front of Jacobs Jewelers, which lives on as Florida’s oldest jewelry company.
It’s one of the few street clocks still remaining in a major downtown area, and one of the coolest historic features of downtown Jax.