Oct 3, 2018
Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR), Happy Haynes, Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman (Dist. 5), Executive Director of The Park People, Kim Yuan-Farrell, Save Our Sundial Committee Co-Chair, Denise Sanderson, and community members today celebrated the completion of the plaza and sundial restoration at Cranmer Park. The project was a cooperative effort funded by DPR, the Save Our Sundial fundraising campaign led by The Park People, and generous contributions from the community.
Residents of the neighborhood joined forces with The Park People to raise funds which supplemented city dollars for reconstruction of the plaza and refurbishment the sundial, originally installed in 1941. Through those efforts, $830,000 was raised on behalf of the Save Our Sundial campaign. The entire sandstone plaza was removed and historically reconstructed with an improved drainage system and modern engineering to support the long-term sustainability of the site.
“The sundial and plaza are integral parts of the character and culture of the Cranmer Park community, and it’s wonderful that Denver Parks and Recreation could join together with the neighborhood and The Park People to revitalize this important piece of Denver’s history,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “I’m very proud of the effort that went into the restoration, these park treasures are the legacies we want to preserve and protect for generations to come.”
“As stewards of Denver’s park system, it’s important to preserve historic features so that future generations can share in the same memories that we and generations before us have been able to enjoy. This plaza and sundial are the timeless centerpiece of Cranmer Park and represent the vision of city leaders before us who understood the importance of green space,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation. “I want to thank the hundreds of contributors who made the reconstruction project possible, especially Mayor Hancock, City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman, The Park People’s Save Our Sundial Committee, and residents and business owners in the community.”
The 100-yard sandstone plaza was originally constructed in the 1930s with a beautiful terrazzo panorama highlighting the Colorado Front Range. Originally installed in 1941, the sundial was destroyed by vandals in 1965 with dynamite. A community effort raised funds to replace the sundial with a slightly larger, six-foot replacement created using the piece’s original drawings. The first plaza revitalization was completed in 1992; however, due to outdated construction practices and decades of freeze-thaw weather cycles, the plaza fell into a state of disrepair and was placed on the Colorado Preservation 2013 list of Most Endangered Places.
“We are so proud of the way the Denver community rallied to protect this community treasure – to save the sundial,” said Kim Yuan-Farrell, Executive Director of The Park People. “It’s special places like the sundial plaza that enrich our lives and make Denver a great place to live, work, and play. We need to invest in our parks and open spaces – they’re the places that will keep Denver livable as our city grows.”
Cranmer Park, located in Denver's Hilltop neighborhood, consists of 24-acres of land at the crest of the hill– once the highest point in east Denver at an elevation of 5,434 feet. The park was first named Inspiration Park, later renamed Mountain View Park, and then renamed again in 1959 to honor George Cranmer for his vision and leadership during his service as Denver’s Manager of Parks and Improvements.