The Rich History of The Cincinnati Observatory Center
The Cincinnati Observatory was founded by Ormsby M. Mitchel in 1842. It was the first professionally organized observatory in the USA. 4 Acres of land on Mt. Ida were set aside for the construction of the observatory. The corner stone was laid by former president John Quincy Adams, and the suburb of Mt. Ida was changed to Mt. Adams to commemorate the event. Just after construction had began, the country was in an economic depression. All of the funds set aside for construction were gone, Mitchel paid for the rest of construction out of his own pocket. Workers gave up their time and labor for exchange in shares of the astronomical society, which was going to run and maintain the observatory. When construction was complete in 1845, there still was very little money to keep the place running, so Mitchel took on the job of director without pay. The telescope arrived from Germany in January of 1845, and went into service on April 14 of that same year. By this time the observatory was receiving some financial aid from the Cincinnati college, but a few weeks before the observatory was opened to the public, the Cincinnati college burnt down. Again Mitchel had no source of income. Despite this, he continued to serve as director of the observatory for a few more years, but eventually he had to leave Cincinnati to find a source of income. The observatory lay dormant until 1868 when Cleveland Abbe was appointed as the new director. He wanted to move the observatory away from downtown because the heat generated by a growing city made observations useless. Eventually the observatory was moved to Mt. Lookout and remains there to this day to teach people about the wonders of space.