The Historic Daytona Beach Coquina Clock Tower
“Meet me at the Daytona Clock Tower”, is a famous expression among visitors to the iconic landmark, situated right next to the Historic Daytona Beach Bandshell and the Ocean Walk Shoppes. It has been a symbolic landmark since 1938.
The Clock Tower construction began in 1936 as part of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) project. Both the clock tower and the BandShell were constructed from the same grant with a $236,000 fund. The dedication ceremony was held on July 4, 1938.
The Coquina Clock Tower in Daytona Beach’s Oceanfront Park features a very unique design with the twelve letters of the city spelled out (D-A-Y-T-O-N-A-B-E-A-C-H) instead of the traditional one to twelve numerals. Architect Allen J. McDonough used Florida coquina rock for its structure, building a very beautiful 4-sided clock tower that attracts people of all ages who come to see it. It also has a small fountain under the clock mechanism.
The clockworks were originally a mid-1930s Seth Thomas vintage timepiece. It was operated using the ropes and pulleys system but was then converted to electricity in the 1980s.
Due to lack of maintenance and bird dropping contamination, the clock became out of sync and eventually stopped working. The Daytona Beach officials thought it was hopeless to fix the clock and have it working again. But Jack Smith, an antique clock expert, after a thorough cleaning and rehabilitation, got it operational once again with a very minimal cost of less than a $100 for the parts and materials. The clock was perfectly operational in time for the 52nd anniversary re-dedication ceremony on July 4, 1989. With a big thanks to Smith (NAWCC member) and to his clock repair skills, the ceremony went through without a hitch.
It was in 1989 that the Clock Tower was renamed ”Campbell Clock Tower” in honor of the famed automotive speedster, Sir Malcolm Campbell by the city’s Historic Preservation Advisory Board. Campbell has set several land records in the year 1920s and 1930s in Daytona Beach.
On March 5, 1999, the Coquina Clock Tower was added to the Daytona Beach Bandshell and Oceanfront Park Complex on the United States National Register of Historic Places.
The Clock Tower again suffered from corrosion and exposure in January 2008. The repair included sawing off and replacing the old hands as well as the electric clockworks. After that, the 4-sided clock started working again. It was on March 21, 2008 that the new dials and motors were restarted. The good news is, funds are in place for future repairs, and to ensure the clock will always be in good working condition.
Curious why people come to see this world-famous Coquina Clock Tower? Come see for yourself. Plan a visit to Daytona Beach, FL and make sure to drop by the clock tower located on the popular Boardwalk in Oceanfront Park.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia