Restoration fundraiser Thursday for historic Hamilton sundial

Cocktail event to build support for 1940s piece of city’s history.

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

A cocktail hour fundraiser on Thursday will help renovate a piece of Hamilton history unfamiliar to many.

Tano Bistro General Manager Tyler McCleary is helping with the project.

“It’s not one of our pieces,” said McCleary, president of the City of Sculpture Committee, “but it’s a historic sculpture in the city. What I offered is a happy hour to really create awareness.”

From 4:30 to 6 p.m., in partnership with the City of Sculpture, a Sundial Social Hour at Tano Bistro, 150 Riverfront Plaza, will be held with themed drinks as supporters will hear about the Sundial Restoration Project and, potentially, buy one of the $100 tax deductible brick pavers.

The weathered bronze sundial is dated May 30, 1941, and is “To honor our fathers of the Grand Army of the Republic resented by Tent 117.”

In a 1941 article in the Hamilton Journal and Daily News, the sundial was dedicated on the grounds near what is now the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument. The idea of the sundial came from the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War to acknowledge Josephine Straub Weiler, mother of Stella Weiler Taylor, by naming Tent Number 117 the Weiler Tent in Josephine’s honor.

Members of the Weiler Tent donated the bronze sundial memorial in memory of the G.A.R.

The sundial is missing its ornate gnomon, the piece that casts the shadow that tells the viewer the time of day.

The restoration of the sundial is “super important” even though it’s not a City of Sculpture Committee piece.

“Hamilton has so much cool stuff going on for its future, and I spend a lot of time talking about that and I love it,” McCleary said, “but we’ve been here for a while. We have had our ups and downs, but no matter what, we have a rich history and those sculptures remind us of that.”

Fox said the sundial needs to be dismantled and taken to J.K. Hawkins’ studio in Deer Park. She said the sundial will be polished and a patina applied, as well as attaching a new gnomon.

The sundial will be installed on a higher square cement block pedestal and rotate 90 degrees toward the north to provide observers with the correct time.

“Since the sundial is in Monument Park directly across from Well House Hotel, the area will be visited by thousands of travelers to Hamilton throughout the years and will add much to the dignity of the other historic structures there,” Fox said.

Fox added support for the neglected G.A.R./Weiler Sundial “will not only bring a historical and meaningful sundial back to life” but the engraved pavers will allow supporters to leave their name in perpetuity in Hamilton’s history books.

“Stella Weiler Taylor and her mother, Josephine, would be so proud, for in their lifetime here in Hamilton they contributed so much to the richness of our heritage.”

The fundraiser is set to be completed by Dec. 31, and the plan is to have the refurbished sundial rededicated next spring.

To purchase a brick, visit

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