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Just like clockwork

Todd Roseborough will set the digital clock at FirstBank for daylight-saving time Monday morning. That means the clock will be one hour behind on Sunday. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).
Todd Roseborough will set the digital clock at FirstBank for daylight-saving time Monday morning. That means the clock will be one hour behind on Sunday. (Baker City Herald/S. John Collins).

By LISA BRITTON

Of the Baker City Herald

It's time, once again, to figure out how to reset that disply on the VCR.

Then there's the alarm clocks and the microwave clocks and the coffee pot clocks and the stove clocks and the car clocks ...

Daylight-saving time begins Sunday at 2 a.m.

Todd Roseborough only has five timepieces to adjust at home on Saturday night — all digital, all easy to reset.

But none are as simple as the clock he will change on Monday morning.

Roseborough is the assistant vice president and business and personal banker at FirstBank Northwest in Baker City, formerly Pioneer Bank.

For the past four years, he's been in charge of changing the digital clock at the corner of Broadway and First streets.

"Someone in the branch has to do it," he said. "I get to be the one with the fun, I guess."

To adjust the clock, he simply stands in the parking lot, aims a remote control at the display and pushes the button.

"It looks a lot like a garage door opener," he said. "You just hold it down and the clock starts to move."

He prefers this April time change over the return to standard time in October, he says.

"You don't have to go all the way through the numbers," he said.

Just a reminder: He doesn't click the clock ahead until Monday morning, so don't set your watch by this digital timepiece on Sunday.

"I should do it on Sunday, I guess. We get a lot of phone calls," Roseborough said. "It's really important to some people."

There's no remote for the three clocks at the Geiser Grand Hotel on Main Street.

In fact, no one will give the clocks a thought on Sunday as the time ticks toward 2 a.m.

"There's a computer chip in the clockwork that has a 100-year calendar embedded in it," said Barbara Sidway, co-owner of the Geiser Grand.

Come Sunday morning, the hands will automatically adjust to daylight-saving time.

That 100-year calendar began in 1995 when the clock tower was restored to the northwest corner of the hotel.

"Until 2095 we don't have to worry about (the time change). After that, we'll worry," Sidway laughed.

The three clocks are exact replicas of the originals that were installed in 1889 — plus the high-tech computer chip, of course.

Those first timekeepers were replaced with decorative tin lion heads in 1900, Sidway said.

The clocks, it turned out, where just too tempting as targets.

"The cowboys would be taking target practice with their six-shooters," Sidway said.

Two of those lion heads are still around — one is on display at the Eastern Oregon Museum in Haines and the other hangs in the saloon at the Geiser Grand.

"If you look carefully between the eyes of the lion's head at the saloon, you'll see a bullet hole — the target shooting continued," Sidway said.

Baker County Courthouse

The four clocks that adorn the Baker County Courthouse haven't worked in 20 years, according to Gary Smith, the county's maintenance foreman.

The clocks, manufactured by the E. Howard Clock Co. of Boston and installed when the Courthouse was constructed in 1909, could be repaired and cleaned for about $15,000 — half that amount if Smith builds and installs the hands himself.

Inside the clock tower, the clock mechanism itself works fine, Smith said.

Smith has been the unofficial "keeper of the clock" since he began his career with the county in 1977.

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