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Celebration honors clock's 100th year

James Knox | Tribune-Review
David Newell, who portrayed Mr. McFeely on the Mr. Roger's Neighborhood television show, reads a proclamation on the celebration of the 100 years of the Kaufmann's clock Friday, May 17, 2013, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh.

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By Bob Karlovits
Friday, May 17, 2013, 6:46 p.m.

Mr. McFeely from “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” promised he would celebrate the centennial of the Kaufmann's Clock in an appropriate way.

“I'll be speedy,” said David Newell, before reading a proclamation from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl celebrating the iconic clock at Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street and naming May 17 and 18 as “Meet Me Under the Clock” days in the city. Newell recalled meeting his grandfather there for weekly trips to the movies.

He read the proclamation May 17 under the clock at the store that since 2005 has been Macy's, which put together two days of celebration with special merchandise from Monroeville artist Linda Barnicott and Mercer County's Wendell August Forge, and there will be price rollbacks in the Tic Toc Restaurant and the Arcade Bakery.

The celebration began with a breakfast for invited friends at bar-high tables on the first floor of the department store.

“It is a great honor to be part of this, and I'm very excited about it,” said Russell Schutte, executive vice president/regional director of stores for the Midwest region. The Bethel Park native said his family also often used the spot as a meeting place.

Schutte said the celebration will benefit Got Your 6, a national program that helps veterans return to civilian life and is named after military slang for “got you covered.”

The clock has been recognized by the Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation.

Among the guests at the event was Elsie Henderson, who rivals the clock in longevity. She will turn 100 on Sept. 7 and was 17 when she began work in the Kaufmann's department store's “bad accounts” department.

In 1947, she began work as a meal planner at J. Edgar Kaufmann's famous home, Fallingwater in Fayette County, where she stayed until 1963, when the landmark home was turned over to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

She is co-author of “The Fallingwater Cookbook: Elsie Henderson's Recipes and Memoirs” (University of Pittsburgh Press, $29.95).

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7852.

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