The Observatory

The Observatory-Overhead

An overhead view of campus from the South. The observatory dome can be seen to the left of the power house (Coal Ben).

The Observatory-Inside

An inside view of the observatory dome. The building was used by both students and faculty for education puproses until its demolition in the 1980s.

In November of 1949, Br. Andrew Havlik, O.S.B., under the supervision of Fr. Edmund Jurica, O.S.B., completed construction of a Springfield mount telescope. The telescope was fifteen feet high and weiged over 500 pounds. However, the telescope remained largely unused for nearly four years until the campus was able to complete construction on an observatory capable of housing the device.

Brother Andrew and Father Edmund constructed the telescope in their spare time using aluminum, magnesium, bronze, steel and brass parts. The telescope lens consisted of a 16 inch mirror that was three inches thick and 50 pounds in weight. It was mounted on a motorized platform with three motors that worked in tandem. At the time of the telescope's construction, it was thought to have been the largest Springfield-mount telescope ever assembled.

In 1953, construction was completed on an observatory near the power house (Coal Ben) that was capable of housing and mounting the telescope. The small observatory was located just southwest of the power house (Coal Ben) and was modeled after the observatory on Mount Palomar in California.

Eventually the building's deteriorating condition raised some safety concerns. The observatory was torn down sometime in the 1980s and the telescope was sold to the Chicago Astronomical Society.