|More than 100 years ago, this was the commercial heart of a farming community, variably referred to as Brookfield, Brookfield Heights, and Brookfield Junction. Two men, possibly rail workers, are visible on the depot side of the passing train and it appears a barn once stood near where Sabella's Pub & Grill is today.|
|I haven't seen photos that show or
read accounts that specify whether the Brookfield depot clock was
three-, or four-sided, and even its shape is not easy to discern.
The enlarged image suggests it might have been
octagonal, like the Allen-Bradley clock, the first of which was installed
in 1950 in a space now occupied by a temperature gauge. The second and current
version, still operating, was installed in 1962.
Research for a story about the Allen-Bradley octagon led me to
information about the
Parliament Clock, the oldest known octagonal timekeeper. It was so named because it was created for use in taverns as
a means of avoiding a tax on clocks imposed by the British parliament
in 1797; it was also called the Tavern Clock. Instead of buying
their own clocks and incurring the tax, citizens simply visited the
nearest drinking establishment to get the correct time (and maybe a pint or two).
Clockmakers I spoke
with said the octagonal shape was more attention-getting than a plain
circle, but of greater importance, it was also much
easier to cut from wood stock than a circle, especially with the
simpler tools of earlier centuries.
The face of the Brookfield depot clock appears dark while the marks and hands seem to be light, indicating it might have been illuminated.
In his story "Along The Milwaukee Way" for The Milwaukee Road magazine, Jerry Hilton mentions that when he was inside the depot, he saw evidence that a stair once existed on the inner east wall and thinks it might have been used to reach living quarters on the second floor. Another possibility is it provided access to the cupola for clock maintenance.