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Time To Come Home: Overseas Railway Terminal Clock Returned To Key West Museum After 50 Years

The clock recently returned to Key West came from the terminal to the left of the train in this photo from the 1930s. Photo credit: Heritage House Collection / Monroe County Public Library

The Key West Art and Historical Society has a permanent exhibit about the Overseas Railway, which linked the Keys to the mainland from 1912 to 1935.

So curator Cori Convertito was excited when she got an inquiry from a man in Ormond Beach who said he had the clock that was originally from the railway’s terminal in Key West. She checked with the museum’s registrar.

The registrar told her he thought they already had the station’s clock.

The clock was given to the Key West Art & Historical Society in 1957, but has been out of their hands since the early ’60s. Photo credit: Key West Art & Historical Society

“So lo and behold he pulls up the record and he said ‘Well, I’ve been unable to locate the clock. It’s missing and has been for years,'” Convertito said.

The Navy, which now has the property where the railroad terminal once stood, gave the Art & Historical Society the clock in 1957. Convertito said it appears the museum loaned the clock for repairs to the would-be donor’s father back in the early 1960s. But the repairs never happened and the museum lost track — until the man contacted them.

“He had no idea that it actually had belonged to us and we had no idea where it had gotten off to,” she said.

Last month, the clock was driven back down the East Coast to Key West from Ormond Beach. It will become part of the museum’s display on the railroad, along with artifacts like dishes and Ernest Hemingway’s train ticket.

And they won’t have to fix the clock — the donor did that.

“It’s just nice to have it back here and it’ll be great to have it on display and working,” Convertito said. “You just never know where these things are. We’re just happy that it’s home.”

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