Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Lost Damaged & Restored Sundials

Some sundials go missing, others are blown up with dynamite or destroyed by vandals.  Fortunately some of these dials are recovered and restored

What do you do when your state's college Capitol Campus in Olympia, WA has a beautiful sundial designed by John Elliot, but a wimpy gnomon?  The dial has been subject to a poorly designed and vandalized gnomon since it was installed in 1958.  Now the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services "invites student designers to create a design for a functional, accurate, and aesthetic gnomon for the state's Capitol Campus sundial."  To be eligible for the design contest, students must be enrolled in a Washington State community or technical college. The contest encourages student teams and an honorarium of $1000 will be awarded for the winning design.

The gnomon must be made for the sundial latitude of 47 degrees, with a maximum base length of 39.5 inches (1003 mm) to fit the 6 foot diameter circular sundial with center offset gnomon . "Practical concerns such as strength, resistance to vandalism, ease of maintenance, cost, and method of attachment will also be important aspects of a winning design."  Esthetics of gnomon style, artistry, and content that blend with the sundial and capitol campus environment are important criteria.

Entries are due by February 24, 2017 and the winning design will be announced March 10, 2017.  Read more at : http://des.wa.gov/services/facilities-leasing/capitol-campus/memorials-and-artwork/territorial-sundial/sundial-gnomon-design-contest

Attachments:
Download this file (GnomonContestRulesAndCriteria.pdf)GnomonContestRulesAndCriteria.pdf[ ]58 kB

1695 Malta Dial on wall of Old UniversityIn a recent article by Michael Galea in the Times of Malta a sundial on the wall of the Jesuits' church, next to the Old University entrance on St. Paul Street in Valleta, may soon disappear if action is not taken.  The dial, one of the oldest in Malta was engraved onto the brick wall on August 13, 1695, and now "The heritage authorities are earnestly solicited to take immediate action to rescue this piece of history from destruction." 

Enternal light needs to shine upon this dial, for as the Latin motto reads "TEMPUS ERIT QUANDO CESSABIT TEMPUS ERITQUE LUX AETERNA BONIS NOX SINE FINE MALIS" or "There will be a time when time will cease and there will be eternal light for the good and endless night for the wicked."

Unfortunately in recent years the sundial has been neglected. The university is closed and building has other short term occupants. A dark stain from a rain spout obscures the right side and a brushy weed is growing in a chink between the stones. This dial is in need of some simple maintenance, weeding and cleaning.  But now scaffolding blocks the wall and we believe the dial is slated for destruction. 

Fortunately the architect responsible for the building restoration has been contacted with a proposal to restore the sundial and set a plaque with information about it at street level to draw attention to this fine Maltese sundial.  What will be the fate of this dial?  Hopefully not endless night.

Read about it at: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170103/letters/Sundial-doomed.635519 and see more photos at http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8J99_Sundial_on_Old_University_Valletta_Malta

Hilltop Park SundialHilltop Park was built by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency in 1987 and the iconic 70 foot sundial and nearby skatepark, "The Dish", the oldest skatepark in the San Francisco were in need of repair. Rennovation funding came primarily from the statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008 (Assembly Bill No. 31), which set aside one of its largest grants of $5 million out of $368 million to improve parks and recreation facilities in underserved communities throughout California. An additional $1.6M for Hilltop Park renovation came from The Trust for Public Land, Bayview advocacy group Parks 94124 and a private philanthropist.

On December 3, 2016 public officials and community citizens celebrated the opening of the revitalized Hilltop Park. The sundial received a new coat of yellow paint and refurbishment and the Dept of Parks and Recreation upgraded the surrounding plaza, amphitheater and lighting.  "The Dish", was redesigned with a modern flair, and the surrounding park given a surrounding of native and drought tolerant plants.  Meaghan Mitchel concludes an article about the rennovation: "The newly renovated park also boasts adult fitness equipment, picnic area with a barbecue pit, and telescopes as well as educational signage to enhance science and cultural learning opportunities."

Read more in an article by Meaghan Mitchel (January 2, 2017):
http://sfbayview.com/2017/01/bayview-community-celebrates-newly-renovated-hilltop-park/

Deteriorating Cranford SundialThe North American Sundial Society likes to record public sundials that are in good or excellent condition.  Dial #797 in Cranford, New Jersey is a sad exception. In 1972 the Kiwanis Club of Cranford presented a 15-foot diameter sundial to Union College as an expression of interest in the college and the youth of Cranford. But the years have taken a toll where it sits adjacent to the William Miller Sperry Observatory. The dais stonework mortar has given way and the concrete dial face has deteriorated.

A plan to restore the dial is underway.  Dr. Stephen D. Nacco, of Union County College, Vice President, Administrative Services & Executive Assistant to the President set up a Sundial Fund under the Union County College Foundation, a 501(C ) 3 not-for-profit organization. Donations can be made online via the Web Site, http://www.uccfoundation.org/give.html with the donor selecting GIVE ONLINE NOW. Choose Donation Type "Other", and then put “Sundial” in the Additonal Comments Area as the reason for the donation.

Checks can be made out to:
Union County College
Sundial Fund
1033 Springfield Avenue
Cranford, NJ 07016

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Damage to Erickson Equatorial Sundial in Cranmer Park, Denver, CO.  Photo Credit: Save Our Sundial

What happens to old sundials?  In Denver, citizens of Cranmer Park are taking matters into their own hands.  The City of Denver has generously committed $545,000 to the restoration of the Cranmer sundial and plaza through the Parks and Recreation and the Arts and Venues departments... but the citizens must raise another million dollars.

Read more: Cranmer Sundial Restoration

 

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Photos Courtesy of Oatlands Historic House and Garden

Sitting peacefully in the garden of the Oatlands Historic House and Garden near Leesburg VA, is a beautiful, but sadly in need of repair sundial.  Each year the Virginia Association of Museums, comprising over 500 museums and historical sites within the state, receives nominations for conservation of Endangered Artifacts. 

Read more: Oatlands Sundial on Endangered List

Many sundials do not survive the raveges of time.  Buildings are destroyed and the sundial goes to oblivion.  However, Panama City Commissioners had a different view of the sundial once located across from the Marina Civic Center.

Read more: Sundial Moved with Hidden Treasure