Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

bowiecityhalldial-viewAfter more than a year of construction, the new Bowie City Hall and the Bowie Portal Dial off Evergreen Parkway and Emerald Avenue in Bowie, Maryland, will be dedicated on the 7th of May, 2011.  The City Hall, Police Station along with two works of public art, an interior mobile and the 15-foot steel and bronze sundial will grace the City of Bowie

The idea for a sundial started in early 2009 when the City Council decided to add a working sundial to the front landscape.  The Director of Community Services prepared a Call to Artists and enlisted the North American Sundial Society to assist the Public Arts Panel to evaluate responses.  By November 2009, three semifinalists were invited to visit Bowie, meet the architects, and see the construction site. Alvin Sher, Rafe Ropek, and Gino Schiavone each prepared their vision of the Bowie City dial and submitted models. Within a month, the panel selected the design by Gino Schiavone and his wife, Judith.

The design and crafting of the dial and the tile mosaic base took just over a year. On site installation of the dial took nearly a week, with Gino shipping more than 6000 pounds of steel, bronze and stone from New Mexico to Maryland.   Preparation of the dial site and heavy assembly work for dial placement of the dial was made possible by the architects Grimm & Parker.  bowiedial_constructionbowiedial_noon-editedThe dial is erected on two stainless steel posts that hold the 48 x 66 inch copper and bronze vertical dial 15-feet off the ground.  The dial, located at 38o 56.6’ N  76o 43.8’ W, is a beautiful filigree vertical bronze dial using a frosted glass dial surface such that the gnomon’s shadow of time can bee seen from both the City Hall and Evergreen Parkway.

 

The base of the dial forms a portal, reflecting the dial’s name “Bowie Portal Sundial”. Two granite benches flank the portal and underneath the benches is a theme of running horses, making reference to Bowie’s long racing history.  At the entrance of the sundial portal is a bronze outline of children playing, reflecting upon the true asset of Bowie, typically thought of as a “bedroom community” to Washington DC.

bowiedial_surround

The dial has a plaque for the Equation of Time including longitude correction, making the sundial an accurate timeppiece.

Surrounding the base of the dial is a tile mosaic compass rose of cardinal points, creating the perfect setting for the monumental dial.  Standing some feet away from the dial you can simultaneously see the sundial and the new Bowie City Hall tower clock.  This inspired Gino Schiavone to write:

On yonder clock
On yonder tower
Is shown the time
By civil hour
 
Upon this dial
Upon this tower
Is shown the time
By solar hour
 
No matter what
The clock might say
The noon I show
Is true midday