By MICHAEL MELLO
(Article is from November 2007 edition of THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER)
[Photo caption:] BACK TO THE FUTURE: Andrew Dreger Sr. stands in front of his home in Long Beach under the clock he created and installed in the 1930's. A preservation effort for the clock has begun.
[Inset Box:] Dreger Clock For more information about the clock or to donate for its refurbishment, visit www.dregerclock.org or call the Buena Park Historical Society at 714-562-3570.
BUENA PARK - Glenn Frank got used to seeing the tall, ornate, forest-green clock out in front of the Knott's Berry Farm ticket booth every time he drove down Beach Boulevard.
Frank's great-grandfather, Andrew Dreger Sr., spent five years constructing the one-of-a-kind timepiece, which displays the local hour, as well as the time in 12 cities around the globe, the date, and the phases of the moon. One 110-volt motor drives all 19 displays.
Frank noticed its absence when he drove past the park in August. The clock had stood on various locations of the Knott property for more than five decades.
Year after year, "We'd have family come into town and we'd take a picture in front of the clock," said Frank, a 41-year-old Web-site developer who lives in Garden Grove.
After its disappearance, Frank found it – on e-Bay. The seller, an antiques dealer, wanted $20,000 for it, but no one bid. Instead, the Buena Park Historical Society offered $9,000, which was accepted.
In October, Frank said, society members got permission from the Buena Park City Council to place the clock in a park across from City Hall once the clock's been refurbished. The Historical Society wants to raise $20,000 to completely dismantle, clean, and reassemble the machine so that future maintenance will be minimal.
"It will be preserved now," said Dean O. Dixon, the society's curator. "We (had) worried it might wind up on a Texas ranch somewhere."
For now, the clock remains in a La Habra warehouse. But once finished, "We're hoping to place it close to Beach Boulevard so that it's highly visible."
Dreger built the clock in the 1930s and asked the city of Long Beach to place it in the median of Anaheim Street, near his home.
"They wanted to put all kinds of restrictions on him, so he put it in his yard, as close to the sidewalk as he could," Frank said. "Even in the last year of his life, he would get up there and clean the faces."
When Dreger died in the 1950s, the family sold his home. Though they're not sure, Buena Park historians believe the clock made its way to Knott's Berry Farm through Dreger's sister, who married into the Holder family. The Holders owned a farm next to the Knott property
The clock resurfaced near the rose garden outside Knott's Berry Farm's Ghost Town. In later years, it stood in front of the ticket booth at the entrance of the park.
Contact the writer: 714-704-3796 or mmello (AT SYMBOL) ocregister.com