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San Francisco, California

Urbano Sundial

A promotional sun clock on the site of San Francisco's great raceway. 

Dedicated on October 10, 1913, this massive white sundial measures 28 feet across and, being of recent construction as sundials go, is almost entirely for looks and attention.  It resides at the site of one of early San Francisco’s most thrilling spectator sports: the Ingleside Race Track.

Eight thousand people came out on November 28, 1895 to witness the opening day of the Ingleside tracks. The race fans were not disappointed: massive grandstands overlooked the finely groomed track and a clubhouse offered views and fine dining, as well as the thrill of the sport. Despite the initial popularity, within a few decades the tracks had lost their initial luster, and, when the earthquake hit in 1906, the owner offered up the site to the city as a refugee camp for citizens of the burnt quarters of the city. It never saw races again.

The 26 foot high dial was erected in 1913 to lure young families to the Ingleside Terraces residential area, an area of upper income homes created on the site of the racetrack by the Urban Realty Improvement Company in 1912. Synchronized to the summer solstice, a booklet published at the time describes, “…It bridges a limpid pool wherin two bronze seals sport and form the base of a fountain that plays day and night. Running around the stone curb of the pool is a rippling circlet of gorgeous purple and yellow pansies. Then comes the broad dial marked with Roman numerals..”

750 houses were built ringing the oval track, still showing its distinctive outline on the map.

Know Before You Go

At the end of Entrada Street, off Borica Street, off Urbano Drive.