AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s governor and his Blaine House guests will be looking back in time when they check the grandfather clock in the mansion’s reception room.

The state museum has placed an antique clock that predates the state itself by 14 years in the governor’s mansion. During an informal ceremony Tuesday, the 1806 clock was presented to first lady Karen Baldacci, wife of Gov. John Baldacci.

The old timepiece was built by Augusta clockmaker Frederick Wingate and still keeps the correct hour and minute, although a calendar dial below the center of the face has stopped working and shows the wrong date.

Making the presentation was antiques dealer Nathan Tuttle of Pittston, who donated it to the Maine State Museum last year after purchasing it for $35,000 at an auction several years ago.

The museum in turn decided to give the clock to the Blaine House. It’s not uncommon for the museum to place items in the governor’s official residence, which is a historic artifact itself.

The 174-year-old home, which has served as the governor’s mansion since 1919, has among its antiques a federal cabinet-top desk owned by James G. Blaine, who served as U.S. House speaker, a senator, secretary of state and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1884. Maine became a state in 1820.

Retired state museum curator Ed Churchill says the clock is likely the oldest piece of furniture in the Blaine House. While it has undergone some surface restoration, it still has all of its original parts, Churchill said.

Beyond the reach of the hands on the face of the clock, hand-painted flowers and strawberry vines decorate the corners and a gold-leaf dog hunts a rabbit just above 12 o’clock.

Tuttle said the clock, which tops a tall wooden casing, “really belonged back in Augusta.”


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