The Tower

“Do you want to climb the tower?”

“Sure.  Do you want to climb the tower?”

“Sure.  Let’s go.”

Honestly, in a lot of ways, it was as if we were kids looking at a roller coaster, saying, “I’ll do it if you do it!”

Except it wasn’t a roller coaster, and my mother and I weren’t kids.

—–

Dayton, Ohio, is a city with a lot of history.  I know there are a lot of cities with history, but Dayton is mine, so I’m a bit partial.  Part of the city’s history — and there is a lot — is embodied in what is known as the Callahan Clock.  

Until the late 1970s, this clock stood atop Dayton’s first tall building, the Callahan building.  When that building was taken down, the clock was removed from its 14 story perch and moved to another building near Interstate-75, giving it even more visibility to those moving through the city. 

That location was eventually torn down as well, and until two years ago the clock sat on the ground in Dayton’s historical Carillon Park, home of the Wright Brothers museum and its airplane, the Wright Flyer III.  (I told you Dayton had a lot of history–oh, yeah, the whole “birthplace of flight” thing.)

In 2019, the clock was placed atop a tower built in Carillon park just to hold it, a structure known as the Brethen Tower.

“The tower” that started this narrative.

Now, the tower itself isn’t necessarily a thing of beauty.  The clock is, but the tower is a simple structure made of I-beams and steel grating.

Therein lies a problem.

It’s 120 steps to the top, and every one of those steps is made of a rock-solid-no-way-you-can-fall piece of steel grating firmly welded to the structure itself.

Just because you can’t fall, though, doesn’t mean you can’t see through it.  As you climb it, there’s never a time when you’re not aware that you’re getting farther and farther from the ground.  I climbed it, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it, but that doesn’t mean I was comfortable doing so.

Once we were there, however, we were rewarded with a view of the downtown area as well as a fantastic vantage point from which my mom and I could look at another attraction: a bald eagle nest.  Currently occupied by a pair of eagles with three maturing eaglets, it’s a sight to see, perched at the top of a large sycamore tree on the edge of the park.

We came, we climbed, and we saw.

“Okay, I’m ready to go down now.”

“Okay, me too.”


The Callahan Clock, Dayton, Ohio

Bald eagle nest, Carillon Park, Dayton, Ohio

17 thoughts on “The Tower”

  1. Writing that starts with dialogue is always fun to read, and I enjoyed learning about Dayton, Ohio. All I ever connected it to was King’s Island, so your reference to roller coasters was appreciated. There was a good flow to your sentences, and I was thankful for the beautiful pictures you included. I was hoping I’d see a close up of the stairs you and your mother climbed, but your description took care of that want.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy! Kings Island is definitely a part of the Dayton area experience, but I haven’t been in years. At the time, the thought of slicing about the tower didn’t cross my mind, or I definitely would have gotten pictures of the stairs!

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  2. Tim, great post of this slice of your and your mom’s lives. Very sweet! And it is interesting to learn a little history of Dayton too. The eagle is majestic–that would definitely be worth the walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, it was a neat experience all the way around. Dayton really is an interesting town, and I’m learning more about it as the years go by. The eagle was pretty cool!

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  3. Fun post! I am glad you included some photos too! Reminds me of climbing the observation tower that I’ve written before about on Timm’s Hill (no pun intended) near our cabin. I’ll have to count the stairs the next time we go… we can see through them as well – always a little disconcerting!

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    1. Those stairs really are something; “disconcerting” is a perfect word! Oddly enough, there were several signs that said 120 steps. I didn’t count them, as I was a bit distracted. Timm’s hill — that sounds interesting!

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      1. Timm’s Hill is the highest geographic point in WI – only about 10 minutes from our cabin. I can understand the distraction – it’s either where you are stepping or the view you are getting ! I tried attaching a photo but it won’t go.

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  4. A climb that was worth it.

    Enjoyed the stories of Dayton… long ago, it was one of the first trips I made without my own family. I went there from Indianapolis with my aunt and two cousins- one my age and one younger, who was going to the Children’s Hospital for specialized treatment for cerebral palsy. Most memorable, though, was riding on the escalator in a department store- up and down, up and down- it was quite the attraction.

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    1. Diane, I don’t remember the specifics, but a department store with a memorable escalator definitely has a place in my memory. I’ll have to ask my folks about the name, but the downtown area had a store that was a classic department store from the pre-mall 60s and 70s.

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  5. Tim — where do I begin? I love the beginning and ending. How you started and ended with dialogue. Putting us in a scene before we even knew what was happening. I love that you turned this slice into a moment to share a bit of history and knowledge — research? — and I am so close to wanting to use this as a mentor text for that reason. I just adored your voice in this and the story you told. Thank you for sharing your conquering of the tower (I also loved that reference to the famous saying and how you turned it around to make it relevant). As the kids say: “chef’s kiss.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erica, I’m glad you enjoyed this — it was a lot of fun to write. There was a bit of research (I’m always hesitant to use that word when referring to three minutes on Google) to get the dates and spellings right. I didn’t really know that much about my home town growing up, so it’s cool to learn now. Thanks!

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  6. OK. Piece of cake, my friend. I climbed all 330 steps to peer out of Salisbury Cathedral’s amazing spire the last time we were in the UK, so no problem. I do so love that they have preserved the clock and in such a lovely way. I’m a big preservation nut. And you know I loved the eagle’s nest bonus. Huzzah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is cool that they’ve worked to preserve the clock. There’s a small part of me that wishes they hadn’t put “Carillon Park” on it, but since I can’t be certain what it used to say, I guess that’s okay. I thought you might like the bird; it’s a bit bigger than what you usually write about, but hey — birds are birds, right? 🙂

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