Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Washington  

Sundial 880
State/Province:  District of Columbia Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Horizontal Condition:  Excellent
Latitude:   38° 55.3783' N Longitude:   77° 1.2033' W
Location:
  • Howard University, in the center of the main campus quadrangle
 
Description:
  • This simple bronze sundial about 12 inches in diameter sits on a 3-foot fluted plinth made from Indiana limestone. Embossed hour lines extend from 5am to 7pm delineated every 15 minutes. Surrounding the hour chapter are Roman numerals with the noon hour marked by "0". The gnomon is very attractive, with a bird ensconced between the style and base. The dial was given to Howard University by the Lampados Club of Alpha Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in 1929 to honor Benjamin Banneker, 18th century astronomer, surveyor and executing architect of the District of Columbia.

    By the mid 70's the gnomon had been vandalized and was missing. On May 10, 1980 the Brothers of Alpha Chapter held a re-dedication ceremony for the sundial, with refurbishment done by the Chapter and underwritten by Bro. Hubert G. Humphrey & Omicron Chi Chapter. But the refurbishment did not last long, for by 1983 the gnomon once again went missing. The sundial is now being refurbished by the contributions of Brothers of Omega Psi Phi and the Mother Pearl Alumni Association (MPAA), a 501 (c) (3) organization.

    "Other than Founders Library, The Dial is arguably the most prominent feature of Howard University's campus" - Marvin Joseph in the Washington Post, Oct 8 2011. The sundial has been the rallying point for Brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for over 88 years. Although the gnomon went missing during the late 1970's and again in the mid 1980's, that has not stopped the Brothers, especially on Fridays during the Spring and Fall, from converging at The Dial at noon to celebrate through step and song lead by their the Basileus to honor the traditions of the fraternity. You can see a photo of their performance below.
 
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: Howard University
  • On the dial is "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be"
    On the limestone face of the plinth is inscribed the date “1929.”
  • Designer: Brother Ralph Augustine Vaughn and Albert Cassell
  • Builder: Dial refurbished: Rome Industries, Peoria; Plinth refurbished: Hilgartner Nat'l Stone Co, Baltimore
  • Construction Date: Dedicated 1929, Refurbished 1980 and 2017
 
References: Web Links:
  • http://sundials.org/index.php/all-things-sundial/time-and-longitude/314-sundials-and-timely-ceremonies

 
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Last Revised: 2017-08-27 20:27