Louisville Clock Back Downtown

The Louisville Clock at Theatre Square.

The Louisville Clock at Theatre Square.

Barney Bright’s huge automated Louisville clock is back on Fourth Street where it belongs and is in great running shape.

One of the most famous of Louisville sculptors, Bright was born in 1927 in Shelby County as Jeptha Barnard Bright. He came to Louisville and had a studio/foundry that is mostly still in place on lower Frankfort Avenue. Nationally known sculptor Ed Hamilton worked there for a while and then he mentored sculptor Raymond Graf.

Bright did public sculptures and many private commissions, mostly in bronze. Local developers wanted a clock to be placed at the River City Mall (now known as Fourth Street Live) but they dithered around and nothing was done about it until former mayor Wilson W. Wyatt brought it up in 1973.

Many artists were interviewed and Bright was eventually selected to do the job. The idea was scaled back considerably due to cost but eventually Bright went to work and created this fanciful clock with a race track and bandstand. It was dedicated in front of 3,000 people on December 3, 1976.

It had five famous Louisville figures, Daniel Boone, King Louis XVI, George Rogers Clark, Thomas Jefferson, and the Belle of Louisville, racing around the clock’s track. Each race turned out different thanks to the clock’s computer. Viewers on the bandstand are Mary Anderson, Henry Watterson, Zachary Taylor, D. W. Griffith and trumpeter Oliver Cooke.

Louisville Clock Race track and bandstand.

Louisville Clock Race track and bandstand.

Eventually there were lots of mechanical problems and it was cut up and dismantled in 1993.

Up stepped Adam Burckle and he and his foundation have spent years and thousands of dollars restoring and rebuilding it. It has been placed in Theater Square across from the Brown Hotel and everyone is thrilled to have it back. All who are grateful to Burckle should go out and buy one of his homemade pies or ice cream!

Bright also did the River Horse Romano in front of the Mazzoli Federal Building’s entrance and the Winged Man, Icarus. His Floating Nudes are in front of the Legal Arts Building, and there are many of his sculptures in Cave Hill Cemetery. He was also commissioned by the city of Philadelphia to create the statue of basketball legend Julius Erving.

After his retirement Gayle and Barney Bright spent a portion of their year in Louisville and a portion in Europe. Prior to his death on July 23, 1997 at the age of 70, he released a 36-page book titled “Barney Bright: A Fifty Year Celebration.”

Gold David on Main Street.

Gold David on Main Street.

In the meantime his legacy lives on. Downtown public architecture has seen several recent additions. Besides the mechanized clock, there is the ginormous gold leafed copy of Michaelangelo’s David in front of 21C Hotel on West Main Street, and a few steps east of “David” at the Pyro Gallery there is a gold leaf Maker’s Mark bottle serving as the exhibit centerpiece for that bourbon’s outdoor advertising retrospective.

We Are Cookin’

Chef Ghyslain Maurais has introduced some new dishes to the menu at Ghyslain on Market, which is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are boxed meals ready to go, or you can try the new roast pork and broccoli rabe with caramelized onions and provolone cheese on a baguette and au jus on the side, or vegetarian focaccia with herb cheese and grilled seasonal veggies garnished with snow pea sprouts, Peppadew peppers and olive salad, spinach and shrimp, plus more.

Chef Ghyslain is certified in French pastry, chocolate décor, candy making, blown and pulled sugar and bread making, and the Quebec native has served as the head chef for the Quebec Delagations in New York and London.


Winston’s is hosting Jim Beam, Storybook Mountain Wines and local authors Albert Schmid and Bernie Lubbers.

The evening features a four-course dinner created by celebrated chef John Castro and sous chef Tyson Long, a wine discussion by Vintner Select’s Jeff Hickenlooper, a mixology presentation by Lubbers and A.J. Holley of Jim Beam Global and book signings by both authors.

Cocktails are at 6:30 p.m., followed by the mixology presentation and book signings by both authors. The seated dinner will begin at 7:30. The price is $58 per person or $98 per couple plus tax and gratuity. For reservations call 502. 456.0980.

A Day In The Country

The Health Committee of the Woman’s Club of Louisville is having a day in the country at the lovely home of Janice and Fred Mueller at 6416 Routt Road. The luncheon, auction and boutique items for sale will benefit the Sponsor-A-Child program of hearing impaired infants and children at the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy.

Friday, June 15 at 9:30 a.m. is the date to mark on your calendar. The luncheon is being prepared by chairmen Sherry Baird and Ann Morris. A $20 donation to the Woman’s Club of Louisville Charity Fund will get you a ticket if you send a check to Peggy Duane, 8808 Dennington Drive, 40222.

Come dressed in casual clothes: Bermudas, cropped pants, sun dresses and comfortable flats. There will be a donated valet parking service.

There will be an auction of a luncheon by Jeanne Ferguson and Kay Matton, a luncheon in Rose Lowery-Duke’s log cabin, boutique items, furnished dollhouses, clothing for American’s most popular 18” dolls and lots more, with Kay Matton as auctioneer.