By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Drivers passing along Fair Oaks Boulevard may have noticed the large clock in the front yard of a home near the intersection of Oak Avenue, but few know it once prominently stood in a local shopping plaza in Citrus Heights.
Birdcage Walk, once a popular outdoor shopping center during the 1970s in Citrus Heights, has been gone for over 20 years. But long-time residents may remember the tall redwood clock tower which once graced the center of its 65 open air shops.
Asked about the clock, Larry Fritz, president of the Citrus Heights Historical Society, said he knew the clock tower’s top cupola portion survived and was in the front yard of a home in Citrus Heights, but he had never reached out to the property owner.
After subsequently being contacted by The Sentinel earlier this month, the property owner, Steve Bowers, shared his memories of Birdcage Walk, its demolition, and how the clock cupola ended up in his family’s front yard.
“My father Stan owned Valley Construction in Citrus Heights which was hired to demolish several buildings in Birdcage Walk,” Bowers recalled. “Under the terms of the demolition contract, he and his company had the salvage rights to keep whatever he chose to from the project site.”
One of the most significant pieces of the project involved the removal of the clock tower at the front entrance of Birdcage Walk.
Work crews carefully cut the cupola clock base from each of the four redwood pillars supporting it and then trucked it to the Bowers family home where it was ultimately placed on top of a brick root cellar his father built.
Bowers said he didn’t recall when the cupola actually showed up on his family’s property, but he’s glad his dad decided to keep it.
“It’s been a part of our family ever since,” he said. “Each of the clocks on all four sides are still in working order.”
A retired contractor himself, Bowers was unavailable to have a photo taken on his family property beside the former Birdcage Walk clock tower, due to some significant health issues he said is now facing.
Bowers said he intends to talk to Fritz, a fellow 1973 San Juan High classmate, and added he would like to see the clock tower on his family’s property preserved.
“It’s an important part of our shared history,” he said.
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*Correction: an original version of this story initially said the Birdcage Walk center had been gone for over 40 years. This has since been corrected.