Sic Transit Gloria…

A READER WRITES TO ASK WHEN SOMEONE WILL FIX THE HUGE CLOCK atop the Mercantile Bank tower, which hasn’t kept accurate time for ages. The sad truth is that the clock has stopped for the entire edifice built by the legendary R. L. Thornton, As for the neighboring Republic Bank Building, it was abandoned after late spring thunder and hail storms damaged the roof. The building, built by Thornton’s rival Fred Florence, was only 20 percent occupied at the time, but now even those hardy survivors are gone, leaving a ghost town in the middle of downtown. Sheer size probably means neither will ever be renovated and occupied again. “They’re out of the main flow, huge and full of asbestos,” says one city official. “With more money than God, you could almost make it work.”

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