New Harmony is home to many cool historical artifacts, from large buildings to small personal possessions. One such artifact is the Harmonist sundial: a device of simple construction, the sundial uses the shadow cast by its gnomon, or style, to tell time.
In 1821, the original settlers of New Harmony, the Harmonists, installed the sundial on the mansion belonging to the leader, Father Rapp. When the mansion caught fire in 1844, the sundial was saved and later fixed to the south wall of Community House Number 2. There, it could accurately tell time except during daylight savings time.
Today a replica of the Harmonist sundial continues to adorn the south side of Community House located at 410 North Main Street. The original is displayed inside the same building with several pieces of authentic Harmonist furniture, some of the few remaining examples of Harmonist craftsmanship presently in New Harmony.
To see the original sundial, take a tour with one of Historic New Harmony’s fabulous tour guides—they’ll be happy to point it out to you. Tours begin each day at 10 o’clock at Historic New Harmony’s visitor’s center the Atheneum. Don’t forget to check out www.visitnewharmony.com for other events and activities in New Harmony!