Dear VLS Explained:
What’s the deal with that lighthouse clock thing by the Registrar’s Office?
Glad you asked, A.D.! The clock was a gift from the Class of 1995, whose members raised about $5,000 toward its construction. At a small dedication ceremony on Oct. 28, 1995, Dean Maximilian Kempner predicted the clock “will give future students something to puzzle over when they arrive.”
Christian Jaquith, the clock’s creator, told The Forum at the time: “I wanted something that people would stop and look at and think about. I wanted people to say, ‘What is that?’”
Well, mission accomplished. But make no mistake—this is no mere lawn ornament or conversation piece. Again, from Forum reporter Courtney Flanagan’s 1995 account:
“On the face looking toward the Cornell Library, Jaquith used a classic time face using roman numerals. He used a more modern time face looking toward Whitcomb House—a face with no numbers and simple hands. The third face is perhaps the most interesting, a sundial made of a horseshoe Jaquith found by the White River on his first visit to campus when scouting the location for the clock . . .
“All the materials, except the clock’s internal works, are from Vermont. Jaquith used white marble from Danby and green marble from Rochester. The copper roofing, as well as the woodwork and steel around the face of the clock, was salvaged from sites in Vermont and recycled into art.”
At VLS, even the cryptic timepieces are locally sourced.
Hopefully you have a newfound appreciation for the clock, A.D. And it’s never too early to start thinking about a class gift.
—Kyle Scott Clauss
Got a mystery for us to solve? Send to email@example.com with the subject line “VLS EXPLAINED.”