Decorative “alumni” clock installed by entrance of Taft High School
by BRIAN NADIG
A recently installed antique-looking clock greets visitors to Taft High School when using the main entrance at 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
The decorative clock, featuring “Taft blue” is located in an area that principal Mark Grishaber hopes to turn into a quad, similar to the outdoor gathering spots on many college campuses.
“Students could have lunch out there and get some fresh air,” Grishaber said, adding that he also would like to see outdoor seating installed.
These Victorian-style clocks, sometimes referred to as “street” or “post” clocks, are often seen on golf courses, college campuses and town squares, Grishaber said. The clocks sit on top of an approximately 10-foot decorative post.
The manufacturer of Taft’s clock is Verdin, which Grishaber points out is based in Cincinnati, the birthplace of the school’s namesake, William Howard Taft. “How cool is that,” he said.
Donations from Taft alumni paid for the $26,000 clock, with about a a quarter of the funds coming from members of the Class of 1959, Grishaber said. The words “alumni association” and “established 1939,” which is the year the school opened, are posted on top of the clock.
Grishaber said that when he meets with groups of alumni he often receives donation checks for the school and that those donations are used for those capitol improvements that the Chicago Public Schools usually will not fund.