A Sculpture Called Four Times Daily

P1030806While camping at China Camp State Park in San Rafael, we realized we had forgotten to bring milk for breakfast. So we headed for the store. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a big white thing.

P1030739Upon closer inspection, we found it to be a huge metal sculpture.

P1030761It sits on the grounds of an abandoned school.

P1030765Later found out that it started out as the Mcphail School. Great name. Then it was the Marin Center for Humanities and the Arts. Then the Marin Design Center. Now it has an interesting, slightly melancholy post-apocalyptic feel.


P1030760Got home and got on Google, trying to get info on it. Didn’t know the title or artist, so came up empty. So I put up a couple of posts on Craigslist asking if anybody knew about it. Right away got a reply, with a link to the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Turns out it’s called Four Times Daily, by a sculptor named Robert W. Ellison. It’s about thirty feet by fifty feet. Must weigh several tons.

Four Times DailyIt started life in 1978, in San Francisco Civic Center Plaza. A documentary short film was made about it called ‘The Unveiling of Four Times Daily’. Currently out of print, unfortunately. It was moved to its present location in 1983. What an engineering feat to move this thing.

P1030740I found Robert Ellison’s website, and emailed him, asking about what would happen to it. He promptly wrote back, saying he is working on getting it a home on the campus of Sonoma State University, but that it may take a year or two. Hope it happens, a lot of folks would enjoy this, and it’s kind of forlorn where it is.



P1030746This is easily the coolest thing I’ve seen since the Hunter’s Point Copra Crane ( on this blog a couple pages back).


3 thoughts on “A Sculpture Called Four Times Daily

  1. Pingback: Best of 2009 « EPA and around the bay

  2. Pingback: A Sculpture Called ‘Three Heads, Six Arms’ « EPA and around the bay

  3. I remember an article in a local newspaper that featured a “man in the street” reporter asking people what they thought of the the sculpture entitled “Four Times Daily” and the mans reply was ” it looks like once was enough” Hilarious line for a not very aesthetically pleasing piece of art.

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