Last weekend, Grapevine introduced the world to a new glockenspiel atop the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) building.  Our first thought, “What the heck is a glockenspiel?”  (Other than, it is kind of fun to say.)  Note:  part of our job around here is to answer the questions on everyone’s minds.

Google is your best friend when you need answers to questions like these.  Let the search begin.  According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a glockenspiel is:

a percussion instrument consisting of a series of graduated metal bars tuned to the chromatic scale and played with two hammers.

You can find glockenspiels for sale on Ebay and Amazon ranging in price from around 30 bucks to up over 500.  They look a lot like a xylophone to the untrained eye.

Our search also uncovered that Glockenspiel is a popular fine dining establishment in St. Paul, Minnesota.

So what does this have to do with the new clock tower above the CVB building?

Our search continued to find a YouTube video about a clock in Switzerland made of finely tuned bells with Swiss characters that come out of the clock at designated times of day.  You can see the full video right here:

Apparently, there is another glockenspiel in Munich, Germany in the town square. Full video right here.

So in Europe, there are at least two clocks with finely tuned bells where historical characters come out of the clocks at various times of day.  Interesting, we are getting warmer.

Grapevine, TexasIn those terms, we now understand better what the glockenspiel is in Grapevine, Texas (allegedly, the first of its kind in the United States). In Grapevine, two train robbers that look like cowboys come out of the clock tower a couple of times a day and re-enact a gun fight or a train robbery of some sort.  Are there any finely tuned bells in Grapevine’s clock tower?  Not that we have heard of.

So what does the new glockenspiel have to do with the history of Grapevine? Not a lot from what we can gather. It is a uniquely manufactured tourist attraction sort of like the world’s largest rubber band ball in Eugene, Oregon or Vulcan the Iron Man in Birmingham, Alabama.

It is something unique for people to see as they come through Main Street in downtown Grapevine.  So in the fact that it is unique and a tourist attraction, it is much like Grapevine.

Top photo credit:  abbyladybug on flickr

Bottom photo credit:  Dystopos on flickr