Friday, April 5, 2013

Blast from the Past - Clock Cigar Store and Clock History

The old Clock Cigar Store on the east side of of Mackay's Main Street (still standing in 2013) is one of Mackay's oldest landmarks. 

The building built in 1901 first housed the Mackay Miner Telegraph newspaper until 1905 and then the Mackay Miner newspaper until 1917. (Double click to enlarge photo).
After the Mackay Miner newspaper moved to their second location across Main Street and one block up toward the Union Pacific Oregon Short Line Railroad station, the original building was used by a jewelry store owner, Mr. Emanuel Frank (Mackay Miner Feb 1919) who installed the large clock outside the building to bring attention to his business and provide the city with a timepiece. This was at a time, when not everyone owned a pocket or wrist watch and the large clock outside the building helped the Mackay citizens track time. Mr. Frank was pretty sure it was the only clock like it in the state of Idaho and was similar to a clock located on Broadway in New York City, New York.
The clock was 14 feet tall, the lighted dial measured 30 inches in diameter and was adorned with 3 street lamp-type lights. Due to the lighting, the clock was quite eye-catching at night. The Mackay Light and Power Company supplied power for the clock and its lights. The clock was unique in that it had no clocking workings inside the lighted dial. The hands were driven and controlled via wires from a master clock works inside the store.

Mr. Emanuel Frank passed away suddenly in September 1920 (Mackay Miner Sept 22 1920) soon after revealing plans to remodel and expand the building. Emanuel Frank was buried at Mt. McCaleb Cemetery in Mackay, Idaho.
Ownership of the building and the clock throughout the next years is sketchy.  The city of Idaho Falls attempted to buy the clock from the Frank Estate, but bowing to local public pressure, the Mackay city fathers interceded, purchased the timepiece, and vowed to keep it a part of Mackay's Main Street decor.
The former jewelry store was converted to a cigar shop and the signage added by Charles and Hattie Donnelly. With prohibition in place, the shop sported pool and billiard tables along with a good game of poker. With the repeal of prohibition in 1933, the Clock Cigar Shop was one of the first Mackay establishments to offer draft and bottle beer along with a few slot machines.

Charles Donnelly's died suddenly at the age of 51 years of age on 10 July 1940 he was buried at Mt. McCaleb Cemetery.
The Clock Cigar Store became the property of Scott Vaught who brought in Elmer Peterson to manage the business.  Scott Vaught's sister, Marie Vaught Peterson was married to Elmer Peterson. The shop continued to have card playing and drinks along with an outlet for fishing tackle including hand-made fishing flies by Elmer Peterson (1894-1972). 
Inside the Clock Cigar Store with Elmer Peterson, Ace Shindurling behind bar with beer. circa 1940s. From the LShafer Collection

Elmer Peterson died in 1972 and is buried at Mt. McCaleb Cemetery. 
The clock outside remained a fixture on Mackay's Main Street through the early 1940's and was GONE by 1951. However, the exact date of the removal of the clock is unknown.  In the minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Mackay for 1 Sept 1942, Mrs. Ralph Larter appeared before the Board and brought up the matter of the Village Board paying for the repair of her car which was damaged by the clock in the front of the Clock Cigar Store when it fell over on her car producing $18.75 damage. 

The location of the clock after its removal from Mackay Main Street is UNKNOWN.

A later owner of the building was Bart Kent. 

In the 1980's Rex Lundberg and Rowsel Ellis rented the space for a carpentry shop.

The building is owned by a man from Las Vegas, Nevada (2013).
Prepared by Earl Lockie and Judy Malkiewicz, South Custer Historical Society, Mackay, Idaho

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