Massive sundial now on display in Janesville

The sundial sits at Lion’s Beach Park right next to the Rotary Botanical Gardens
An out-of-this-world project is now shining bright in Janesville.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 9:54 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:27 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE Wis. (WMTV) - An out-of-this-world project is now shining bright in Janesville.

Located at Lions Beach Park on Palmer Drive, an enormous 2,500-pound concrete sun dial is in place. The sun dial is 21 feet by 16 feet and features the months of the year. A sundial is used to tell the time by marking the path of the sun. You can stand on the sundial on a sunny day and how the sun casts your shadow helps tell the time.

“I think it’s amazing combination of science and art,” said Christine Rebout, the executive director of the Janesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I mean it’s so much fun to see those things together. Often people think ‘I’m an art person or I’m science person’ and you can’t bring those things together and this really does bring those things together in a beautiful way.”

“Janesville is the City of Parks and there are beautiful parks in this city,” said Janet Evans. The sundial is dedicated to her parents, John and Joan.

John Evans was a Madison native and astrophysicist who worked as a professor at UW-Oshkosh for more than 30 years. Evans eventually retired in Janesville in the 1990s. He wanted the sundial to honor the “light of his life” -- his wife Joan. He also wanted to inspire people to always be curious about the sun, the stars, and the universe.

This photo of John and Joan Evans is on a plaque at the sundial
This photo of John and Joan Evans is on a plaque at the sundial(Janet Evans)

“Well, my father’s first love was astronomy,” said Janet Evans. “I think for my father he would want to convey how important it is for us to pay attention to the most fundamental nature of our earth and that’s how the earth moves around the sun.”

Janet Evans says her family and friends helped raise roughly $70,000 and approached the City of Janesville with the idea.

“It was amazing opportunity when Janet came to us but with most things in life, the challenge was the logistics,” said Rebout.

“For me, I think it’s less about my parents --while we have dedicated it in their honor -- what our family is hoping to do is honor the values that they lived by,” said Janet Evans. “And those values were to make the world a better place and to always be willing to learn.”

A dedication ceremony for the sundial is taking place Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

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