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

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):

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, 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

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


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


Sudhanshu Mishra reports in Mail-Online-India that the World Heritage Site at Jaipur, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory is in severe decline because of neglect.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, also known as Singh II, directed several the building of a astronomical observatories at Ujjain, Varanasi, Jaipur, Mathura, and Deli.  From his research, Jai Singh II concluded that accuracy of observation could only be obtained with large, stationary instruments. The giant Jaipur observatory consisting of 16 different instruments took 15 years to build and was completed in 1734.

Read more: World's Largest Sundial Cracks

nass_news_2012_oct_denver_NASS-24Want to know the history of Cranmer Park in Denver Colorado and why the current Erickson equatorial dial is there on the terrazzo plaza?  Downtown Main Street provides a glimpse of its history and the dynamiting of a dial that stood in the park for 25 years before. Read the article in Downtown Main Street and visit the North American Sundial Registry Entry NASS Denver Sundial-24.