Nearly nine months after Hurricane Ian washed away a Fort Myers Beach landmark, it’s just about time to replace it.
WINK News was the first to report a local beach builder and his investors commissioned a new pedestal clock—a replica of what stood there for more than 20 years. In another WINK News exclusive, Investigative Reporter Céline McArthur travels to Ohio with ‘A Man With a Plan,’ to watch the clock makers finish the job.
Time flies with ‘A Man with a Plan.’ We’re joining Joe Orlandini on his thousand-mile journey to check on the build of a Fort Myers Beach Landmark that will bring Times Square… back in time.
Like time, Joe Orlandini doesn’t stand still.
He’s busy rebuilding Fort Myers Beach, so he only has 12 hours to get to Cincinnati and back.
His mission—make sure the 38-thousand dollar clock is ready to become the welcoming face of Times Square.
“We’re going to put this on today,” Joe says excitedly as he holds one of the custom faces for the new post clock.
Peter Verdin says his family’s business, The Verdin Company, has been making clocks for 181 years.
“Well, I’m the seventh generation,” says Verdin. “We started in 1842. Came here to Cincinnati from France. We’ve made bells and clocks ever since.”
But this is the first time one of their landmark clocks washed away in a storm. So, they dug into the more than 20-year-old project file to recreate it.
“They might look the same on the outside from today to 20 or 30 years ago,” says Brian Rink, national sales manager for The Verdin Compay. “But we’ve got a full engineering team that will look at everything from how the head is attached to the base, to how the base is attached to the ground. And even the products on the inside, to make sure the timepiece in the control or the hands, the drive shafts—everything to make sure that they’re the best possible components that we can put in a clock today.”
The teal color may surprise you, but as you can see in this 2001 picture, it’s authentic.
“Look, this is the exact color match to the original,” says Joe as he flips through the snapshots.
Look closely at what’s left of the clock base in Times Square, and you’ll see the teal there, too.
“Yes, Fort Myers will be happy to know that they have the only Verdin clock that color in the world,” says Rink.
Excited with the results, Joe flies back to Fort Myers Beach to plan for the clock’s arrival.
“I hope everyone comes to touch it. That’s what I want them to do, so that way they they can feel it,” said Joe. “They’re here, their feet are here on the ground and they’re part of the community again.”
Some of you are still asking, what happened to the old clock? Joe started digging through piles of debris just days after Hurricane Ian, hoping to find it. He didn’t. But the mystery is solved—sort of. Take a look at this picture!
The original clock appears to be buried in a pile of trash that landed in a nearby pool after Hurricane Ian passed.
Sadly, the clock that was lost and then found, is now gone for good. That trash was hauled away at a time when the family was dealing with the aftermath of the storm.
Joe hopes the new clock will be installed in time for the 4th of July. Stay tuned to find out when it will be unveiled.
If you have a story you’d like me to tell, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, you can catch up on my special series, “A Man With a Plan.”