LOUISVILLE — Restoration of a folk-art clock featuring five historical figures racing around the timepiece's tilted oval is almost finished. Next up is a search for a permanent home for the Louisville Clock.
The clock designed by sculptor Barney Bright was first displayed in 1976 on Fourth Street.
If the restoration isn't done by early summer, "something is seriously wrong," said Adam Burckle, the businessman who has led the task of rebuilding the city-owned clock.
The repairs began in 2004, after pieces of the clock had gathered dust in storage for more than a decade. The restoration is being done at Bowman Field, a small airport east of downtown.
The work will allow all five racing figures to independently run around the clock for the first time in more than 20 years.
"It will be the first time since the clock was originally designed that the figures will run with a new maintenance-free, all-weather design," Burckle said.
Mary Lou Northern, Mayor Jerry Abramson's special assistant for cultural assets, said the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Public Art may review potential sites and recommend one to the city.
Architect Steve Wiser, a longtime Louisville Clock fancier and a Louisville Historical League board member, called the clock part of Louisville's lore.
He said Burckle, who owns a cheesecake company and nine Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen stores, "deserves all the credit in the world for getting it done."
Burckle said his Adam Matthews Foundation has spent more than $200,000 to repair the clock. In addition, he said, dozens of volunteers have donated time and numerous companies have donated equipment and services.
Over the years, with the help of some engineering experts, the clock's mechanisms have been rebuilt.
With separate drive systems, each racing figure — the Belle of Louisville, George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, Thomas Jefferson and King Louis XVI — is now designed to run independently.
A computer controls and changes the timing on each figure's trip around the clock face, randomly allowing one figure to cross the finish line first.