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Preservation Of Observatory Urged

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At the recenr bi-monthly meeting of the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission at Kempf House a unanimous resolution was adopted to request the Board of Regents of the University to save and preserve the f a m o u s 1954 University Observatory. The Observatory structure and the pioneer scientific equipment located in it were first put in use over 115 years ago and have been in continuous use since then. Much of the astronomical work formerly done at the site has been transferred to other more modern installations, but the original building with its center section and two wings, as well as the sidereal circle, Tiede clock and 12% inch refractor are still there and are still considered to be of historical significance both to the state and to the nation. The observatory was a pet project of President Henry Tappan and the site near the University Medical Center was the first land bought by the University outside the original 40.3-acre campus site which was donated by the Ann Arbor Land Company. The regents paid $400 for the land which was purposefully located on a high hill well outside the city and the existing developing campus. Funds for construction were soliciated from both Ann Arbor and Detroit residents, and because of the interest and generosity of her citizens the installation was called the ''Detroit Observatory" for many years. Early birds-eye drawings of Ann Arbor show a telegraph line running from the observatory to the Michigan Central Depot. This telegraph line presumably cárried the time signal generated by the star observations so that the railroads and all cities having telegraph connections could be on time. John R. Hathaway, chairman of the Historie District Commission, stated that the commission has arranged for assistance of the Ann Arbor Historical Foundation for any programs which may be required to help save the Observatory. The Ann Arbor Historical Foundation is presently conducting a membership and fund raising drive, and foundation officials state that they will be pleased to add the Observatory to the list of Ann Arbor preservation projeets which may make use of t h e i r deductible status. Alumni, astronomy buffs and others who wish to give funds to the foundation for such preservation or for the other foundation programs m a y send their gifts to the foundation care of the Kempf House in Ann Arbor. Chairman Hathaway stated that the commission does not s e e k to save the e n t i r e observatory complex, but only that part which constituted the original structure as shown in the well known painting made in 1855 by J. F. Cropsey and recently presented to the University by Hon. Andrew D. White. It was also pointed out that Ann Arbor had always shown great pride and interest in the Observatory not only by generous contributions to its construction, but also in the gift by the Ann Arbor City Council in 1856 of the aid necessary to construct a "turnpike" from the campus to the observatory even though outside the city boundaries. Among many other special claims and accomplishments, the refracting telescope was the "first large telescope" to be constructed entirely within the United States and was the third largest in the world when it was completed on June 1, 1854. The commission believes t h a t the preservation will serve an important educational function for the University as well as providing a site of great general public interest and pride for generations toi come. Commission members have offered to meet with University officials to discuss any possible problems which might be involved in the suggested preservation program.