Even a stopped clock is right twice a day: On Aug. 12, 1997, Terry Swaim, a driver for Swift Transportation out of Oregon, was piloting a semi-tractor trailer down Higgins Ave. when he hit the beautiful old Stoverud’s clock at the corner of Higgins and Front, knocking it off its moorings and leaving Missoulians with the uninspiring old wristwatch method of telling time. The antique, free-standing clock had been a fixture on the Missoula cityscape since at least 1917. That’s the date of the oldest picture of the clock Stoverud’s Jewelers was able to locate.
Stoverud’s, which became the owner of the clock when it bought out the existing jewelry company in 1945, filed suit against Swift Transportation, asking for $75,000 in damages. The case made its way to federal court last week, with Stoverud’s pointing fingers at Swift for negligence, and Swift pointing right back, saying that the clock constituted a public nuisance by obstructing the right-of-way.
The jury awarded Stoverud’s $111,762, but also found both parties to be equally negligent, however, so Stoverud’s gets half that award, or $55,881.
Unfortunately, the clock was damaged beyond repair, but the good news is that Stoverud’s may replace it. Says attorney Martin King, “I think the concept all along has been to get enough money to replace the clock.”
Why such a relatively straightforward property damage case took four years—from crash to cash—to settle is a mystery of a different sort.
Rubber ducky, you’re the one: Although Janet Leigh visited Missoula last weekend to present the Orson Welles masterpiece Touch of Evil on behalf of the Library of Congress film preservation tour, it seems she also travels with some psychological baggage from another one of her films. It came to our attention that Ms. Leigh’s local accommodations included a two-bedroom suite at the Foxglove Cottage Bed & Breakfast–one of which contains a bathtub. As in, the sort of bathing facility that offers a clear line of sight to any knife-wielding psychopaths in the vicinity.
Upon further investigation, it was determined that Ms. Leigh’s accommodations were no accident. Reportedly, it was not the filming of the infamous Psycho shower scene that caused the star’s long-held aversion to upright bathing. It was only after watching the movie that Ms. Leigh realized just how vulnerable the closed environs of a shower stall leaves its inhabitant. “I don’t know if it would be accurate to say that Janet has not taken a shower since the movie came out,” says the Library of Congress’ Rebecca Fitzsimons, who coordinates Ms. Leigh’s appearances in support of the film preservation tour, “but I do know that she avoids showers whenever possible. And she would not had stayed at the Foxglove if a room with a bath had not been available.”
Bathing idiosyncrasies notwithstanding, Ms. Leigh apparently won over the Foxglove crowd with her old-school glamour and charisma. “She’s incredibly down-to-earth and charming,” says the Foxglove’s John Keegan, “and we had a really great time with her.”