This ornate clock in front of this building is one of the few remaining pieces of 19th-century street furniture in downtown Salt Lake City.
Friends and business partners, Roy Simmons and I. J. “Izzy” Wagner spent more than half a century building businesses – including Zions Bank – and improving their communities. The time they devoted to enhancing beauty, culture, and history in Salt Lake City continues to benefit the city and its citizens.
Among the historic landmarks in Salt Lake City, few have provided such continuous service as the “Old Zions Bank Clock”. While no official account tells the story, tradition says the clock arrived in the 1870’s in a wagon pulled by oxen. The foundry mark on the base of the clock shows the Robert Wood & Co. in Philadelphia cast it in iron shortly after the end of Civil War.
Originally installed within 30 feet of this site, the clock continues to withstand the test of time. A diversion from City Creek, which ran down Main Street, originally drove a water wheel that operated the clock. Later, the clock kept time with springs and wet cell batteries. By 1912, the original gears had been replaced and the clock was connected to the new electricity system in the bank. In 2007, the clockworks was rewired and restructured. Old paint was sandblasted off the ironwork, and the surface was refinished.
The Old Zions Bank clock is listed on both the state and national historical registries.
Dedicated to Roy W. Simmons and I. J. “Izzy” Wagner
The clock is located in front of the Eagle Emporium Building, the location of the first Z.C.M.I.
From the National Register of Historic Places Application:
Dating from the 1870’s, the clock in front of Zion’s First National Bank on Main Street reflects characteristics of Victorian period decoration and is one of the only pieces of street furniture of this period remaining in downtown Salt Lake City. An eclectic interpretation of Renaissance prototypes, classical moldings, and ornamental motifs are re-proportioned and re-assembled here with Victorian flamboyance. A square base supports a column of combined undulating classical elements. The column in turn cupports the large orb from which – clock faces are visible on four sides. Bronze drapery, pierced cresting, and a finial complete the ornamental scheme.
This is one of the few remaining items of nineteenth century Street Furniture in the downtown area of Salt Lake City. It is approximately one hundred years old. Zion’s First National Bank has always owned the clock. The architect and builder are unknown.
No record exists of when the clock was first erected, but tradition has it that the clock was brought to Salt Lake City in a wagon pulled by oxen. It was probably erected on its present site sometime in the 1870′ s, since photographs of this corner taken in 1868 do not show it, and one taken in 1880 shows the clock erected and running, already a city landmark. The original works were driven by a water wheel. According to Joseph Boud, a long time Zion’s Bank employee who retired in 1958, a diversion tunnel from City Creek drove the water wheel. Later the water wheel was replaced with a spring drive. Mr. Bond remembers winding the springs (four large ones), every five days. Still later, the spring drive was abandoned for a series of wet cell batteries. Every six months Mr. Charles Spahr of Western Union would change the solution in the cells. The batteries were kept in the basement of the bank near the vault. Just prior to 1912 a master clock system was installed in the bank and the old clock was connected to it. Probably it was at this time that the works were replaced with International Business Machine gears. For many years IBM serviced the clock. Even . now, after almost a century of service, the internal workings of the old clock are so solid that only occasional service is required.