Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Regions Bank, Knoxville, with a single light glowing within the crumbling remains of the clock
“Does anybody really care?” It’s a great old song (you can find it here: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (NEW EDIT Remastered Version)), but the question reverberates in downtown Knoxville even after four decades – though perhaps not as the group Chicago had imagined. The truth is fewer and fewer of us are carrying watches, anymore, relying instead on cell phones. Yet, there was a time, not so many years ago when one need never wonder about the time in downtown Knoxville because we had a very large digital clock atop Regions Bank (then AM South). From virtually anywhere in Knoxville you could see it and know both the time and (an approximate) temperature. Then it was damaged and the bank was sold. First, Regions promised to fix it, then it sat, falling further apart and delivering an unfortunately timeless message to downtown. An asset became an eyesore. 

I recently walked into Regions bank and asked about the restoration of the clock. It was on my mind because of the shiny new signage atop the First Tennessee Bank. I was told that plans have changed and the clock would be removed rather than repaired or replaced. I was referred to marketing for any further information. I didn’t call. It was too depressing.

I loved being able to check the vital stats of downtown Knoxville at any given time. I checked it as I drove into the city from out-of-town trips, as I listened to music at Sundown or as I went about whatever business in Knoxville. No matter how out of control my life might have been at any given point, I could find steady assurance that the heartbeat of the city was monitored and reported dutifully. I miss that. I know these are rough times for banks, but really how about using a little TARP money and giving us one lousy clock? You aren’t paying us any interest or loaning us any money, so what better way to use it?