Originally published in the The Hilltop Sundial magazine, and posted here with permission of the author, Denise Sanderson, Co-Chair, Save Our Sundial, a project of The Park People
In late April, the stone masonry contractor began to install the much beloved-red sandstone at the Sundial Terrace. Workers began applying stone to the northwest face of the elevated terrace and were also laying stone on the west facing stairs. As the old plaza was deconstructed, much of the stone was salvaged and stored onsite for potential reuse. New stone will be incorporated as needed, with particular attention given to sourcing stone of similar color.
Simultaneously, other subcontractors were completing work on the drainage bed – a system of perforated pipes laid in a gravel bed is being placed across the entire terrace. This will be covered with the familiar red sandstone that will be cut with straight edges and the narrow seams between the stones will be filled with polymeric material to allow water to drain through the surface to the network of drain pipes below. The collected rain and snowmelt will then travel westward toward the grassy park. Without the traditional mortar, the surface will not be vulnerable to the freeze/thaw cycle that caused extensive damage to the historic terrace surface.
Offsite, the sundial has been undergoing its own transformation. The north facing, most damaged side of the sundial was sliced off, and the sundial face will be re-cut using the original template by Erickson Monuments. This firm created the first sundial that George Cranmer commissioned as well as its 1965 replacement (remember, vandals dynamited the original sundial). Work is also underway on the historic information stones and the stones that guide the visitor to read the sundial. The donor recognition area is also underway.
Work should soon be underway on the concurrent sidewalk project, with its completion anticipated to be in close proximity to the end of the Sundial Terrace reconstruction project. And, the Public Art Selection Committee is making plans for the installation of art in the park, as required by City regulations whenever a public works project’s budget exceeds $1 million.
If you’re missing the ability to stand atop the Sundial Terrace and view the Front Range, here’s a hint: from the park bench located along the Second Avenue path from Dexter Street east of the park, you can still enjoy a fabulous view of the mountains, looking over the construction site.
The Save Our Sundial Fund continues to accept donations for the reconstruction project and the Preservation Fund that will provide funding for unforeseen circumstances that may occur over the years. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.SaveOurSundial.com or mail a donation to the Save Our Sundial Fund/The Park People, 1510 South Grant St., Denver, CO 80210.