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South Mountain Journal by John Canan, Photographer, Journalist

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Clockworks Series - A&W Johnston Clockworks

Clockworks Series - A&W Johnston Clockworks

A&W Johnston clock in the HighRock Clock Tower on the square in downtown Hagerstown, Maryland c.1836

I wanted to publish posts on people within the South Mountain region and how I see them.  I wasn't sure how to frame the posts covering the work of regular people that highlights what I see and some of what I believe is important about what they do and how they do it.  Then I noticed the clock in the square in downtown Hagerstown, MD. 

Consider how a clock operates. All of the work happens behind the scenes.   We see the clock's face. We do not see the synchronized processes and mechanisms that were timed and balanced so that the clock functions accurately.  

None of these folks are people who would jump up and down and say, "hey look at me."  You might not even notice them at all. A combination of both what they do and how they approach it that catches and holds my attention.  I am attracted to their relationship to the work they do.  

Clockworks in the A&W Johnston clock in the HighRocks clock tower in Hagerstown, Maryland

Clockworks is a blog series we are publishing to take the reader deeper into the South Mountain region experience.  Each post, starting with this one, will bring you face to face with ways that the rhythm of life here, the cultural experiences, and the well-tuned meals on your plate can occur.   You will meet regular people who make life better, whose visions are shaping the future of the region, and whose commitment to their craft could be a course of study.

What we see of a clock is its face.  Like a clock, what happens behind the scenes are sycronized processes and mechanisms, that are timed and balanced for proper functioning (keeping time) on the clockface.  Public square Clocktower, refurbished by HighRock Group, original clock by A&W Johnston c. 1836

Kicking off the series is the A&W Johnston Clock c. 1836 in the renovated HighRock Clock Tower overlooking the city square in Hagerstown, Maryland.  

I choose this clock because of its central location, ease of access for locals and visitors to view it, and how obscure it becomes because of how near and “familiar” to those passing by below it.  The clock is powered by electricity now, but, the original clock kept in time by a massive pendulum, with ropes, wheels, and gears that held time, which the face displayed through the changing hands on its face.

I seldom have noticed this clock, pondered its relationship to the square, nor consider how it keeps the pace of time.  Likewise, I have shown up to a local grocer without even wondering if their store would be open or not.  I expect the produce I buy to be available, or in a reasonable variation.  All the above without considering what goes into making this possible.   

So, check it out, here is this cool replica clock with the original clock and some the of the gears and restored clock mechanisms. 
How do you keep pace with your family or cohort?  What are ways you impact the experience of others?  In what way are the daily tasks you do a link between the past and the future?  Share what you come up with here on the blog!!

Additional Images in the Article:

Appalachian Trail's Antietam Shelter — A Requiem

Appalachian Trail's Antietam Shelter — A Requiem

The C&O Canal National Park - Better Than I Ever Imagined

The C&O Canal National Park - Better Than I Ever Imagined