Friday, January 23, 2015

Interlude at Union Station


Grandfather Clock

There are places where nobody thinks to look for places, and there are places that announce our arrival, while we’ve mostly forgotten quite why. Passing north, passing south, passing east or west Waterbury’s omnipresent monument is seen by an omnipresent stream of vehicles that look down on the city from omnitangled, limited access expressways. Some know the Tower is Sienese deja vu, and others just know, “It’s Waterbury,” as they drive on.

For people in town the Tower’s a marker to find the train or the Home Depot - near a park, nice for lunch after the robins appear. What’s in the tower? One man told me, “Pure Yankee, built by the railroads, once stocked with weapons, now its newspaper.” Another said the Chairman’s bones were buried there with those of his wife and favorite chef. 

Few can say what it is or means though it’s a reassuring presence, like the resonant tick and hourly chime of a grandfather clock or the clock high in the tower where Seth Thomas still spins time. 

How venerable it seems now! How progressive it looked in 1908 as Waterbury watched it rise, the city’s first skyscraper, taller than anything around.