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Kern's Clock in Downtown Detroit Reinstalled


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The Kern's clock is out of storage and back on Woodward in downtown Detroit, next to Compuware. It began by keeping time outside the Ernst Kern department store.


November 15, 2003

One of Detroit's most romantic landmarks is ticking in public again. The Kern's clock, for decades a meeting point for lovers, friends, shoppers and business people, has returned to duty at its ancestral home on Woodward Avenue.

Compuware Corp. paid for its renovation, and installed the timepiece next to its new downtown headquarters, at the former site of Kern's department store.

The clock was suspended from the Kern's building from 1933 to 1966, when the building was demolished. After more than a decade in storage, the clock reappeared on a pole in 1979, across from the J.L. Hudson's department store. It returned to storage in 1998, when Hudson's bit the dust. Detroiters once again are allowed to use that classic line: "Meet me under the Kern's clock."


The Kern's clock stood at Woodward and Gratiot from 1933 until 1966. Right, a crowd climbs on the clock in 1945 after the United States defeated Japan in World War II.

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Was the Kerns Department homegrown to Detroit?

Yep. Kern's and Hudson's were Detroit's two major hometown department stores. Kern's closed in 1959, only 3 years after the nation's first enclosed, suburban shopping mall opened in Southfield, a Detroit suburb. Hudson's lasted until 1983, when it also closed.

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