Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cincinnati Observatory

The original observatory was built on the top of Mt. Ida on land given to the Cincinnati Astronomical Society by Nicholas Longworth. Former President John Quincy Adams laid the cornerstone of the observatory in 1843. The speech given by John Quincy Adams on the site of the observatory would be his last public speech and later Mt. Ida became Mt. Adams. The original observatory became operational in 1845.

With the increase in population and factories in the city basin, the observatory on Mt. Adams became useless due to the pollution. In 1873 the observatory was moved to Mt. Lookout and the cornerstone from the original building was used in the new observatory.

There are two buildings that make up the Cincinnati Observatory Center. The main building is a Georgian Revival which once had a turret that rotated on old cannonballs before a dome was added in 1895 and the second building called the, O.M. Mitchel Building was constructed in 1904. Samuel Hannaford designed both buildings.

The Cincinnati Observatory has been instrumental in the study of astronomy over the years providing data important in determining the rotation of the Milky Way as well as data utilized in modern theories such as the Big Bang. Meteorologist Cleveland Abbe began to issue daily weather bulletins from the observatory in 1869 and his work eventually led to the creation of the United States Weather Bureau.

The observatory has the oldest professional telescope in the United States dating back to 1843 and the Cincinnati Observatory is a National Historic Landmark. Today the observatory is still in use and holds many educational events as well as private parties and weddings. The center is open to the public on some evenings for viewings.

Cincinnati Observatory
3489 Observatory Place, Mt. Lookout

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