Russell Thayer (BSDes 1957, MA 1961) was commissioned by the city of Rochester, Michigan to create a bicentennial monument for the city’s Municipal Park. Rochester’s City Beautiful Commission wanted a project that would last the test of time and celebrate the city’s past. The monument was unveiled on August 12, 2017 as part of Rochester Homecoming, the city’s bicentennial celebration.
Thayer’s design, a type of sundial called a gnomon, is surrounded by 20 historic decade stones to commemorate Rochester’s 20 decades of rich history. Bronze plaques with a piece of history from each of Rochester’s 20 decades accompany each of the stones.The gnomon is fully functional as a sun dial. Thayer constructed the monument using various Michigan materials, including century-old bricks from Rochester’s old Main Street and stone from The Lindberg Quarry in Ishpeming, Michigan. The 20-foot gnomon is made of weathering steel as a nod to the knitting mills of Rochester’s past.
Thayer has worked for over 55 years as a sculptor, designer and maker. He enjoys working in his home studio in Franklin, Michigan. Thayer’s artwork stands at sites across the state of Michigan, including Michigan State University, Ferris State University, and the cities of Detroit and Birmingham.