Last night in Pekin, Illinois after completing a presentation at the Pekin Public Library about the Best Places to Travel in Illinois, I went on a search. My sister-in-law Kay Hogan and I were on the lookout. We were on a mission to find what is known in Pekin as the World’s Greatest Sundial. How could I miss that when visiting Tazewell County? After all, they did call it the GREATEST!
We found it!
On our way in town we had driven right past it. After getting good directions we drove right to it. Kay and I both got out to check out this Pekin marvel.
There is a lot more to this sundial than I thought there would be. The sundial includes a Miniature Planetary System, description of Earth and the morning and evening stars and more. All of these are tracked in minute detail.
I didn’t find any explanation of where the name Sundance comes from but it is easy to imagine. Following the sun’s dance you can find the shadows to tell you the time!
A sign states that Sundance was built specifically for this one particular location in the Sunken Gardens of Mineral Springs Park..
History of the Sundial
The beautiful sun dial was built by Pekin local Henry Cakora who started this amazing feat in the early 1990’s.
The Sun Dial is a combination of three different sundials. Henry Cakora used his knowledge of how to track the sun and mathematics to help put together this amazing sun dial.
Location of the Sundial
Cakora crafted the sundial parts at his Pekin family business Tazewell Machine Works after doing copious amount of research about celestial movements etc. After the Pekin Park District offered a portion of land in the Sunken Gardens of Mineral Springs Park, he had a place for his masterpiece and he was off and running.
All together, Cakora built three sundials. The three put together, can the tell the time and date, as well as the sun’s position and other facts. To learn how they work, you can read the plaques that are set up near the dials.
eFollowing he directions on the plaque you can see amazing things. Cakora advised placing a chair on the Noonline to se the star of your choice. There are a lot of different aspects you can see that are outlined in the plaques should you have the time and diligence to follow.
The Sundance Sundial is not the tallest. At 45’, it is surely a sight to see, but the tallest accolade according to an article from the Peoria Journal Star goes to a sundial in India which stands almost twice as tall at 89’. However, for Pekin residents even though this may not be the largest or tallest in the world, they claim the structure is the most accurate, thus the greatest!
It is hard to imagine the work that went into creating this wonderful scientific work of art. While you can read about all the calculations it took to put this together you can also take in the beauty of the sundial and simply marvel!