Grand Rapids  

Sundial: 287
State/Province:  Michigan Country:  USA
Dial Type:  Horizontal Dial Condition:  
  Latitude and Longitude: 42° 57.767' N  85° 42.183' W
  • Dial at John Ball Memorial Park Zoo, Valley St. NW & W. Fulton St.
    Turn right immediately upon entering zoo gate.
    Dial is in front of the Funicular.
  • A cast iron statue of a small boy painted in gold and kneeling. With arms upright, he holds a plate on top of his head that held the original sundial face, surrounded by an inscription and ornamentation. The statue is bolted to a concrete pedestal. With the original sundial gnomon removed, a new oversized horizontal dial has been carelessly bolted onto the top plate. The gnomon and dial face imply it is a British reproduction, totally unsuited for the Michigan location. The dial face is ornate, with a compass rose in the center, surrounded by a chapter ring divided in 15 minute intervals. A second, outer chapter ring divides time into 5 minute intervals. Time is indicated with Roman numeral hour marks. Dial in good alignment, but illuminated by the sun only during early morning.

    The sundial statue was originally located in Sundial Park in Grand Rapids MI. This is the smallest park in Grand Rapids, located at College and Cherry. Over the years the dial was vandalized several times and even badly damaged. At the request of Katherine Whinery, who was related to the original donor, the sundial was moved to John Ball Zoo. The statue, which is cast iron was given to the city in 1925 by Katherine Aldrich Blake in honor of her father, Moses Aldrich. Mr Aldrich had been mayor of Grand Rapids in 1870.

    The sundial statue was created by Anna Coleman Ladd, a Boston artist famous for creating prosthetic masks for soldiers disfigured during World War I. See Grand Rapids Historical Commission's 2018 book, "Keep on the Grass: A Brief History of Grand Rapids Parks."
General Information:Inscription:
  • Owner: John Ball Memorial Park Zoo
  • Original dial inscription can not be read except for the starting words: "Time gave ..."
  • Designer: Anna Coleman Ladd (original dial & sculpture)
  • Builder: Anna Coleman Ladd (original dial & sculpture)
  • Construction Date: Original statute & dial - 1925
  • IAPS Listing, May 95
    Outdoor Sculpture in Grand Rapids, Fay L. Hendry, Okemos MI, Iota Press, 1980. p.99.

    Grand Rapids Historical Commission's 2018 book, "Keep on the Grass: A Brief History of Grand Rapids Parks."

Last Revised: 2018-01-07 22:46