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The Cincinnati Observatory is the oldest professional observatory in the United States and it houses one of the oldest working telescopes. It is located outside of downtown Cincinnati on Mount Lookout.

  • Construction of the observatory
  • Cincinnati Telescope
  • Current photo of the observatory

            A professor in Cincinnati by the name of Ormsby Mitchel went door to door to raise enough money to travel to Europe to buy the telescope in Germany. Once it was brought back to Cincinnati in 1843 it was placed in an observatory on Mt. Ida and was dedicated by President John Quincy Adams later that year. The observatory is unique in that the general public has always been allowed to use the telescope and observatory since its opening.

            The observatory would move from the crowded and polluted downtown to its current location on Mt. Lookout in 1873 on land that was donated for that purpose. A Greek revival style building, that was so popular at the time, was designed and built for the telescope. Also a new telescope was bought and placed in the old building. The University of Cincinnati would incorporate the observatory into its physics department in the late 1970s. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1997. By 1999 it was changed from a research facility to a center for public education and attracts over 25,000 people and students every year.