‘MEET ME UNDER THE KERN’S CLOCK’

 

 

The Kern's clock stood at Woodward and Gratiot from 1933 until 1966. Right, a crowd climbs on the clock in 1945 after the United States defeated Japan in World War II.  -- Photo: Tony Spina, Detroit Free Press

The Kern's clock stood at Woodward and Gratiot from 1933 until 1966. Right, a crowd climbs on the clock in 1945 after the United States defeated Japan in World War II. -- Photo: Tony Spina, Detroit Free Press

 

 

 

 

The Kern's clock is out of storage and back on Woodward in downtown Detroit, next to Compuware. It began by keeping time outside the Ernst Kern department store.

The Kern's clock is out of storage and back on Woodward in downtown Detroit, next to Compuware. It began by keeping time outside the Ernst Kern department store.

Detroit, MI — You can’t keep a good Kern down for long.

 This time, it’s not a black hole for money lost with hopes of beating “the house” with welfare money or a new sports stadium to host a last-place team (with which Detroit is blessed to have two). Instead, it the type of development that begins to attract folks downtown to shop, work live. Compuware’s headquarters, the Hard Rock Cafe, new clothing stores and soon to follow retail areas with homes for basic shopping like pharmacies etc., are popping up.

And the city is beginning to demand that owners of the dilapidated investment buildings they own are cleaned up and fixed up. It’s a shame on city leaders that it took the 2006 Super Bowl to motivate them to demand action and not true civic pride but then that’s Detroit politics for you.

And among it all is a quiet reminder of strength, history, style and (of course since it’s a Kern) timeless beauty — the Kern’s Clock.

Webster’s defines my last name in two ways: Kern: 1) Boorish lout and 2) Irish footsoldier. Both may be true. When the Royal Shakepear Company from London visited Ann Arbor last year Corleanius was worried that a “troupe of Kerns” were heading toward Britain. As he should. One Kern is bad enough, but a troupe of us?

But for the most part, us Kerns are generally a peaceful folk, often soldiers and sometimes boorish. And, speaking on behalf of the clan, we are glad the historical clock of our namesake is once again a landmark in the “new” Detroit.

Let’s just hope what feels real will become a true redevlopment complete with people living downtown again and not just fencepost painting for the Super Bowl.

Meantime, read more about the Kern’s Clock here: http://tinyurl.com/ag9mpa 

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