The historic clock atop City Hall stopped shortly after 6:30 a.m. Monday so crew members could get inside the tower and clamber outside to give a once-over to the late-19th-century landmark downtown.

The hands on the four-sided clock should be moving again by Friday. The four faces rival London's Big Ben in diameter at more than 23 feet.

Along with time standing still these many days, the clock's bells that chime throughout the week are silenced, and its lights are turned off.

Engineers chose roughly 6:30 for the hands to stop because that made them less obtrusive as check-up progressed, said Hennepin County spokeswoman Carolyn Marinan. The Municipal Building Commission, a joint agency of the city and the county, runs the building.

The clock tower reaches 345 feet from ground level and is part of a building at 350 S. 5th St. that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original clock was installed in 1896 and replaced in 1954.

The hands stood still for about a year until January 2008, when new mechanisms were installed and fired up.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482