One-of-a-Kind Quilt Block Sundial Installed
The latest quilt block to adorn a building in Burnsville has the
distinction of being the first one in the world that can also be
to tell time.
Quilt Trails of Western North
Carolina installed a quilt block sundial in downtown Burnsville on
Friday, March 19. The colorful block is mounted on the Yancey
Journal building just north of the town square. It features a 4-foot
gnomon spire that uses sunlight to tell the time of day, and is accurate
within six minutes.
Local astronomy buff
Bob Hampton came up with the idea more than a year ago and pitched it to
Barbara Webster, executive director of Quilt Trails of WNC.
and her husband, Martin, spent 12 months working with Hampton to turn
the idea into reality.
"It's really going to
pull people to Burnsville. There's nothing like it anywhere else in the
world," Barbara Webster said. "I hope the town will think of it
the town clock."
The eight-foot by
eight-foot wooden structure, visible from town square, features three
sets of numbers for telling time. There's a set for daylight savings
a set for standard time and one for local apparent time. A plaque
beside the block explains how to use the sundial and the trigonometry
"It's a real
educational opportunity for people to learn how to read it," said
Webster. "High school students can use it to apply abstract math to the
In addition to being the
world's only quilt block sundial, it's also a milestone for the Quilt
Trails of WNC project. It is the 150th block displayed in
"Quilting is part of our
heritage," Webster said. "You can learn the history of our area by
traveling around and seeing the quilt blocks. This is a way to
For info on the sundial or
the region's nine quilt trails, visit www.quilttrailswnc.org
, or call