Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Washington  

Sundial 284
State/Province:  District of Columbia Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Armillary Condition:  No Longer Exists
Latitude:   38° 55.1708' N Longitude:   77° 2.1371' W
Location:
  • Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park), Bounded by 15th, 16th, Euclid & W Streets, Northwest, Washington, DC. Dial was at the south end of the park, near the reflecting pool. Dial was removed in the late 1970's.
 
Description:
  • The Noyes armillary sphere was donated by Bertha Noyes in honor of her sister, Edith. Made of copper and bronze, the 6-foot armillary had an equatorial band with symbols of the zodiac, a meridian circle and arctic & antarctic circles. A winged cherub — a putto — stood in the center. The dial sat upon a octagonal polished green granite base.

    John Kelly of the Washington Post reports that, "All that remains of the once-mighty orb is the octagonal granite base it sat upon at the south end of the park, near the reflecting pool, now largely obscured by a circular hedge. The Park Service also has the winged baby that once stood inside the sphere. It is safely archived at a facility in Landover, MD...The Park Service isn’t sure when [the dial] was removed — after 1977 and before 1985. And, embarrassingly, they aren’t sure where it is now. They don’t know whether it was stolen while awaiting repairs or just misplaced."

    Artist C. P. Jennewein best known for monumental sculptures, including eagles that adorn Arlington Memorial Bridge and the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. The dial cost $31,199 to erect. The land comprising Meridian Hill park was purchased by Congress in 1910, due in part to the efforts of Mary Foote Henderson, a private citizen and park advocate with considerable real estate interests in the area. The first plans for the park were drawn up by landscape architect George Burnap, and approved by the Commission of Fine Arts in 1914. Burnap's Italianate design suited the steep topography and exploited the views from the crest of the escarpment.
 
General Information:
  • Owner: US National Park Service
  • Designer: C. Paul Jennewein
  • Builder: C. Paul Jennewein
  • Construction Date: 1936 Removed late 1970's
 
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Last Revised: 2017-09-03 18:48