They can't turn back time, but workers updating the clock tower at Minneapolis City Hall are removing the white clock faces and replacing them with glass similar to what was originally in place when the building went up in the early 1900s.

The steel framing will also be replaced with cast aluminum. With neon lights already taken out, the new clock faces will be backlit.

Crews started removing the southern-facing clock face last week. Over the next few weeks, the other three faces will come out one by one. The clock's neon hands are being taken down and refurbished as well. All the work should be complete by the end of the year.

The red neon tubing on the clock hands has been part of the Minneapolis skyline since 1949, when the clock's glass panels and copper hands were replaced with stainless steel.

The budget is around $2 million, split between the city and Hennepin County, which both occupy the building.

Constructed between 1889 and 1905, City Hall is both a city-designated landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, including how to take a tour, visit

Paul Walsh