You are here

Home » About » News & Media Center » Celebrate the Return of the Territorial Sundial

Celebrate the Return of the Territorial Sundial


People are invited to join us to celebrate the return of the Capitol Campus Territorial Sundial and to learn how a sundial works to accurately tell time at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

The event will feature speakers from Enterprise Services, the Governor's Office, the State Arts Commission, and the University of Washington.

The sundial, between the Legislative Building and the Joel Pritchard Library, was reinstalled earlier this month following its first overhaul in 59 years.

It maintains its original appearance but is now sturdier than ever and can once again be used to keep accurate time.

The sundial was designed by artist and master craftsman John W. Elliott (1883-1971). It has eight panels depicting scenes from Washington's territorial history, from Capt. Vancouver's exploration of Puget Sound to the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Enterprise Services consulted with both the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the State Arts Commission in deciding to replicate the original artwork. University of Washington astronomy professor and sundial expert Woody Sullivan consulted on the project to ensure the finished sundial's accuracy.

The sundial was removed for work in July 2017. Its gnomon — the part that casts a shadow — and the well-weathered copper face of the dial were each in considerable need of repair.

The 2017-18 repairs completed long-needed work on the sundial. The project was paid for with operating funds designated within the Public and Historic Facilities fund for care of campus memorials and artwork.