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Seattle Clock Walk
Downtown walk map, City map, About, Clock home, About Rob
For Seattleite horological pedestrians

About > Background

I haven't regularly worn a wristwatch since the early days of the millennium. Most of my watch reading was the result of boredom or habit anyways, so it's been refreshing. I got tired of the statement that my watches were making, and always feeling like my veins were getting bruised.

However, before I started carrying a mobile phone, I was sometimes desparate to know what time it was. I'd often look up from a book or wake from a nap in downtown after a long bus ride, and have no clue if I was on time for a meeting or appointment. Unwilling to relinquish my anonymity, I couldn't ask the other riders if they've 'got the time'. Instead, I discovered a rich assortment of public clocks along my bus route. It may seem quirky, but I enjoy this added dependence on my urban environment.

It eventually occurred to me that these clocks are located in significant spots. Almost all are at some hub of activity: train station, retail district, public square, ferry terminal.

I decided to catalog them and present them in the form of a walking tour of downtown Seattle. Visitors or newcomers to Seattle should find this to be a good first step in the city. Even if you're a life-long resident, maybe you're bored of always doing the same thing when you're downtown. Try taking a walk back through time!

The walk through downtown includes 27 tower, sign, facade, and street clocks. I've managed to find information about most of them, though I would appreciate any additional feedback. Occasionally I do get corrections or further information. Hopefully new clocks will continue to be constructed downtown, leading to more changes over time.

After completing the downtown walk, I began tracking down all of the outdoor clocks around the city. I used my extensive network of clockspotters, some hardcore web searching, and sharp eyes on lazy rides along major roads. As far as I know, I've cataloged all of the clocks in the city.

More recently I've begun a database of all of the historic locations of clocks in the city, and I've begun to track down the whereabouts of the large number that are no longer with us.

A note to walkers in Seattle: every one of the green electronic parking pay stations has a digital clock on it!