Perched on a hilltop on the campus of Denison University in Granville, Ohio is a beautiful example of a well-equipped academic observatory from the turn of the twentieth century. Swasey Observatory was, in 1909, the gift of Ambrose Swasey of the Warner and Swasey Company. Built of white Vermont marble, the structure boasts a lovely tiled entry chamber, classrooms (one a former transit/zenith observatory), and a metal spiral stairway leading up to the observing dome. The transit telescope has been uninstalled and its pier removed but is still on display. Several astronomical timepieces are also present though not operating. Under the dome (a modern replacement for the original wood-and-steel structure) is a beautiful nine-inch Warner and Swasey 1910 refracting telescope with Brashier optical components. The drive system has been updated to run via electrical motor but most of the instrument is original equipment. The old telescope is used in astronomy instruction and public outreach. The building has an observing deck where several of the observatory’s small modern telescopes may be attached to permanent piers. Click image to see the telescope.
Photo by James Guilford