Local Group Hopes to Save Antique Clock Outside Closing Sacramento Sears

SACRAMENTO -- An ornate bronze clock stands guard to the strip mall entrance to the Sears department store on Florin Road.

But the entrance was once at the end of the since-demolished Florin Mall, which made way for a Walmart. The clock was the iconic feature of the indoor mall and stood 500 feet away from where it is now in front of Weinstock's department store.

"And in 2006, when they tore the mall down, they moved the clock by Weinstock's to Sears," said Gary Johansen.

Johansen is the head custodian at Elk Grove's Irene West Elementary School but was on staff at the mall. He is a lifelong resident of the Florin area and took care of the plants that surrounded the clock.

With the demise of Sears, he and members of his Facebook community, called "South Sacramento in the 70s," became concerned.

"Our fear is when Sears leaves the clock may leave and we want to save the clock," Johansen said.

The origin of the clock, held up by Greek-like muses and topped by a knight, is unclear. Old newspaper articles say it once graced a bank in Los Angeles when mall developers acquired it from an antique dealer.

While South Sacramento does not have a whole lot of history attached to it, for those who grew up and still live in the area the old Florin Mall was a significant part of their lives.

"(Florin Mall) was the biggest thing that South Sacramento had back in the sixties," Johansen told FOX40.

Johansen said it was briefly the fourth largest mall in the world, containing the biggest J. C. Penney ever built and had three anchor department stores.

Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy made a campaign stop there.

Now, all that's left is the clock and the soon to be closed Sears.

"We don't want to see that history leave. We want the history preserved," Johansen said.

The maintenance supervisor for the Florin Town Centre told FOX40 the clock is staying and will be made operational again. But Johansen and the Florin Historical Society are still interested in raising money to acquire it or, at the very least, place a plaque near the clock explaining its role in local history.