Observatory, 1895 Observatory 1961

Observatory, 1895 and 1961 (click photo for larger images)

The “original” Observatory consisted of a newly purchased equatorial on top of the Water Tower in 1890. Several years later in 1894, due to Father Subprior Peter Engel’s persitance and Abbott Bernard Lockinar’s cooperation with him, a separate building was constructed from donations given by the local community. In November 1894, the original telescope at the top of the Water Tower,  along with the other new equipment, was removed and placed in the new Observatory. The original instruments were from Geo N. Saegmueller & Co., Washington D.C. and cost $6,000. The building had no heating because the astronomy equipment is required to stay at the same temperature as the outdoors.

Observatory Hill was a favorite spot for sledding, ending on the frozen ice of Lake Sagatagan.

The Observatory was razed and its dome was removed in September 1961.

In the summer of 1969, the New Observatory was built near the orchards at Saint John’s University. The new building and equipment cost around $25,000. There are five telescopes, and the Observatory is part of the Physics Department.

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