Denver pledges $1.5 million to fix sundial and terrace at Cranmer Park

The original sundial was installed in 1941. Oh, and it was dynamited by vandals in 1965.

A young woman stands next to the sundial in Cranmer Park in March 1941. The sundial still stands and the park is being rehabilitated. (Western History & Genealogy Dept./Denver Public Library)
A young woman stands next to the sundial in Cranmer Park in March 1941. The sundial still stands and the park is being rehabilitated. (Western History & Genealogy Dept./Denver Public Library)
A young woman stands next to the sundial in Cranmer Park in March 1941. A version of the sundial still stands and the park is being rehabilitated. (Western History & Genealogy Dept./Denver Public Library)

The Cranmer Park sundial and its sandstone terrace —  a small but much-loved corner of Denver’s parks system — will be restored next year in a $2 million project.

The terrace is the size of a football field and was installed by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. The original sundial was installed in 1941. Oh, and it was dynamited by vandals in 1965.

The current sundial was installed decades ago through  a community effort, but both it and the terrace are showing their age. The sundial is chipped and the terrace has been damaged over the years by the freeze-thaw cycle.

The plan is to take the terrace apart and build it the proper foundation that it’s never had. The sundial will be restored.

Parks lovers have raised about $680,000 for the restoration, and the city of Denver has agreed to contribute $1.3 million, plus $250,000 in extra funding if necessary.

The contract for the project has been approved by Denver City Council and the city expects construction to be done in fall 2018.

Denise Sanders, an organizer of the restoration effort, said the park is a special place.

“Some things, you like to stay the same,” she told us earlier this year. “You’ll see people who proposed there, because it seemed like a place that would be there forever.”

The summer side of the sundial at Cranmer Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) clock; time; sundial; cranmer park; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
The summer side of the sundial at Cranmer Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.