Only a short drive away from downtown San Francisco you can find the famous Urbano Sundial by driving along Ocean Avenue until you reach Victoria Street. Turn right on Victoria, left on Urbano Drive, left on Borica Street, and then right on Entrado Court. The Urbano Sundial is situated within the original circle where the Ingleside Race Track was located between 1895 and1905. When the Sundial was constructed by the Urban Realty Improvement Company, they installed a reflecting pool underneath it that was surrounded by colored lights. The sundial is now located in an area of relatively expensive homes that were also built by the Urban Realty Improvement Company in 1912.
On October 10, 1913, more than 1,500 people celebrated the opening ceremony for this 28 ft. tall, marble and concrete sundial. Originally installed by the Urban Realty Improvement Company and promoted as the world’s largest sundial as a way to advertise their Ingleside Terraces development, the Urbano Sundial became the center of its own park whose four grassy areas surrounded by walking paths correspond to the north/west/south/east points on a compass. On the ground surrounding the Sundial, you will see a large clock face with Roman numerals and paths leading away from the center toward four concrete columns topped with urns. You can also see a table that gives the number of minutes to either add or subtract from the Sundial to obtain the correct local time.
Each column rises up from colorful star-shaped flower beds. These columns represent the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Tuscan classic periods of Greek architecture, and the bronze vase at the top of each column commemorates the four stages of human life on Earth, the four seasons of the year, and the four parts of each day. The Doric column represents childhood, springtime and morning. The Ionic column represents youth, summer and noon. The Corinthian column represents manhood, autumn and afternoon, and the Tuscan column represents old age, winter and night.
The best way to see the Urbano Sundial is from the south entrance, and then by walking along the path that circles around the Sundial. You can follow the course of the sun across the face of the Sundial until sunset. Children may be interested to know that every year during the Sundial Park Picnics that are held in late September, young people compete on their bicycles in what they call “chariot races”. And with the supervision of their parents, children also sometimes use the Sundial as a fun slide.
Peter Cross is an accomplished article writer and creative writer who has produced hundreds of articles for many different clients since 2006 when he retired from his consulting business.