Klein Jeweler’s & Klein Clock

Klein Clock from afar

The Klein Clock is back at No. 1 Dexter! From this late afternoon view across Court Square,  we can see the former Klein’s Jewelers, nee Central Bank, standing proudly with its landmark clock restored to its rightful place at the foot of Dexter Avenue. Kudos to Kleins for this contribution to the city fabric, even as the store itself moved from Zelda to Eastchase. The Central Bank of Alabama was built by Bank President William Knox in 1856, and his grand edifice  was the pride of Montgomery. It boasted a cast-iron facade, and its design was inspired by Venetian palaces of the 15th Century. The building was constructed by John Figh.

Knox enthusiastically supported the CSA, and his war loans bankrupted his bank. Knox died shortly after the war’s end. See here for Knox’s outstanding residence on South Perry Street.

Klein Clock

Immigrant Leo Klein founded Klein’s Jewelers in 1893 and his business occupied this building from 1923 until 1983. Thus anyone over age 35 will know this as “the Klein Building”. The Klein street clock stood at the curb in front of the store and became even more of a Montgomery landmark than was the magnificent building.

For a zillion years the 4-sided Klein Clock stood majestically at the curb in front of Klein’s Jewelers where Dexter met Court Square. Dead center of Montgomery. Downtown, you always met under the Klein Clock. When Kleins Jewelers left Dexter Avenue and moved onto Zelda Road, they took their clock with them! It was a sacrilege. Citizens could not believe it. Poor clock. Poor Montgomery!

On Dec 7, 2009, Klein’s announced it was leaving Zelda and moving out to EastChase, but giving the clock to the city for reinstallation on Dexter. The article noted that this is a replacement clock installed in 1938, is a Seth Thomas, 15-feet tall, weighs 3800 pounds, and its faces are lighted from the interior.

-Charles Humphries

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