Freelander Park Observatory

Freelander Park Observatory
400 Hillside Drive (off Friendsville Road)
Wooster, Ohio
Dave Balint, WCAS Secretary


In 1963 a 5-inch Cook refractor, previously owned by the College of Wooster and built in England during the closing years of the 19th century, was installed at the Freedlander Park Observatory. The observatory was dedicated on Memorial Day of that year.

The brass 1876 Cooke Telescope.
The 1876 Cooke Telescope purchased for the College of Wooster, then moved and used at Freelander Park from 1963 to about 2003. The telescope is seen here on display at the College, protected by its Plexiglas®️ window which produced reflections of the room. Photo by James Guilford, January 2023.

More recently, through the efforts of the Wayne County Astronomical Society (WCAS) and assistance from the city of Wooster, sufficient funds were raised to refurbish the observatory and install a new telescope. A Meade LDX55 6-inch refractor with computerized go-to drive gave excellent views of the heavens. On May 26, 2003, the 40th anniversary of the original dedication, the observatory was re-dedicated and the new telescope named the “Jack Strater Telescope” in honor of all the work and effort Jack has given to the WCAS over the years. In spring of 2006, the 6-inch refractor was replaced with a 12-inch Meade LX-200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT) which has become the new “Jack Strater Telescope.” The 1876 Cooke telescope is on display at the College of Wooster.

UPDATE: The hosting club has not been active for a number of years now. In fact the City of Wooster reclaimed the observatory a couple of years ago and it is no more. The observatory was torn down to make room for a handicap-accessible path to the Freedlander Park swimming pool. Those members left who were associated with the club are trying to find a good home for the equipment they had accumulated. — January 2023

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