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In the early 1960s, when the Union Mills Homestead was first opened as a museum of American family life, Frederic Shriver Klein created several souvenirs for visitors.  One of the first was a replica of the sun dial painted on the old Tannery building (photo below).  The original sun dial was lost in a fire which destroyed the tannery in 1990, but the new building on the tannery site is complete with a new sundial.  On the page below is a photo of the replica sundial, along with the brochure accompanying it, written by Fred Klein.

Union Mills tannery sun dial reproduction.
Produced in the early 1960s.  Brochure below:


     This is an accurate replica of an old sun dial which has marked the time of day for American travelers by stagecoach, wagon, carriage and automobile for a century. It has often been described in newspapers and magazines as one of America's unique historical "clocks."

     It was placed on the southern wall of a tannery building at Union Mills, Md., in the early years of the Civil War by Andrew K. Shriver, whose family had built a tannery and mill at their homestead in 1797. He placed a wooden pole in the wall, and marked off the location of its shadow each hour with home-made Roman numerals, from VIII to II.

     Pocket watches were a luxury in those days, and the old sun dial along the road became a wayside "clock" for farmers bringing grain to the mill, for children walking to school, for families going to church, and for many travelers along the country road.

     General "Jeb" Stuart, Confederate cavalry commander, breakfasted with the Shrivers on June 30th, 1863, and marched past this sun dial on his way north toward Hanover and Gettysburg. Perhaps the old sun dial was a little slow, because if he had arrived at Hanover a few minutes earlier, he might not have been intercepted by Union troops, and would have been able to reach General Lee before the battle of Gettysburg.

     This replica should be hung on a post, wall or tree in a sunny place, facing in a southerly direction. It can easily be "set" by placing it so that the shadow falls at the proper hour. Like all sun dials, its accuracy varies with different seasons of the year.

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Page created and maintained by J. Douglass Klein.  Last updated 02/01/03 03:52 PM