Cranmer Park/Sundial Plaza

Year listed

2013

County

Denver County

Status

SAVED

The land for Cranmer Park was acquired in 1908, with the first recorded reference to any site development occurring in 1923, when construction began on the terrazzo terrace. At the time the park was named Mountain View Park given that the platform offers an excellent view of the Front Rage. Mountain profiles were etched in the terrazzo creating a mosaic panorama of Colorado’s mountain range, which mimic the breathtaking view.

Inscriptions etched in the panorama detail historic landmarks from Pikes Peak and Long’s Peak, The terrazzo construction as well as the park’s notable flower beds were funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The sundial was installed in 1941, and was based on an ancient Chinese sundial, out of quartzite stone quarried in Lyons. Unfortunately, the original sundial was bombed with dynamite by vandals in 1965. The destructive incident prompted a community-wide effort to reconstruct a replica of the sundial, led by city officials, members of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, residents, and business leaders and installed in 1966.

Its current condition can be best described as disrepair to the point of destruction. There are crumbling flagstones, missing stones, broken and cracked etchings in the tablets, and broken mosaic stones in the etched Mountain View panoramas and the repairs made so far have been done in an insensitive manner.

In October of 2017, the terrace was closed to public use after determining the conditions now present public safety concerns. Despite the condition of Cranmer Park/Sundial Plaza there is a large amount of community and local support. The Park People’s SaveOurSundial Fund, in partnership with Denver Parks & Recreation, has raised over $1.8 million for its complete restoration.

Contracting for the complete reconstruction of the terrace began in 2018 and the site was moved to a save status in 2019. Much of the viewing platform was replaced with new material and necessary repairs to the sundial were carried out.

 

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