116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Walkers and bikers along the trail in Lowe Park will likely take notice of a new time-inspired feature. It’s one that organizers of the project would like people to step right up and experience.
That new feature is an analemnatic sundial, or a vertical human sundial. An individual can stand on the month of the year, which is laid out on marked concrete pad, and then if the sun is out, their shadow then tells them the time.
“We call it ‘The Beginning of Time’ and we have a visual that explains the history of sundials and how to use this particular one,” said Suanne Huffman, who serves as the secretary for Friends of Marion Parks and helped move the project forward. The project started about four years ago.
What: Lowe Park Kress Family Memorial Sundial Dedication
When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1
Where: Lowe Park Trail, 4500 10th St., Marion
Friends of Marion Parks has partnered with Marion Parks and Recreation Department to complete the project. They believe it may be a one-of-a-kind feature in Eastern Iowa, if not the whole state and are excited about the ways that families might interact and learn from it.
“Kids can learn about Roman numerals, time and history,” said Huffman, noting that they created several informational panels that were installed near the sundial so those who are interested can learn more.
The Marion Parks Department is excited to have yet another unique amenity in the park for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.
“Together we are providing something that is not typical for many parks. It’s appealing and really interactive and we like how much it ties in with our art trail and inclusive playground,” said Seth Staashelm, director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Marion. “We want people to come out and bring their family and go around the trail to see all that is new to interact with.”
He added, “We are grateful to the Friends of the Park group because they are such a strong group and they have done so much in our parks. And we’re looking at other things in the future as they are an ambitious group.”
The sundial has been created in memory of Charlie and Pat Kress, residents of Marion and longtime community volunteers. Huffman said the project started as a memorial for Charlie when he died and his wife, Pat, was still on the board. Friends of Marion Parks, along with the family, wanted a way to honor all the ways Charlie and Pat Kress gave back to the larger Marion community and the “time” they dedicated over the years.
“They were two really great people who gave a lot to this community and this is a lovely way to remember them,” said Huffman.
A dedication ceremony set for Wednesday will bring their sons back to the area to celebrate the Kress Family Memorial Sundial. Current Mayor Nick AbouAssaly and former Mayor Vic Klopfenstein, among others, are both slated to speak. The public is welcome to attend.