Syracuse University Buildings:


Holden Observatory

Holden Observatory
Holden Observatory, SU Photo & Imaging RS 8789

Building Announced: Fall, 1886
Construction Completed: September, 1887
Dedicated: November 18, 1887
Dedication Speaker: Dr. Simon Newcomb, noted astronomer
Named For: Charles Demarest Holden, Class of 1877
Materials: Onondaga Limestone with lead-covered dome
Architect: Archimedes Russell
Size: 30 feet by 32 feet with 30-foot high tower
Funding: Erastus F. Holden, coal merchant and SU trustee
Original Location: south side of hill west of Hall of Languages
1991 Relocation: 190 feet southwest of original location

Notes:

The second building on campus, the observatory was named in memory of the donor's son, Charles Demerest Holden, who died in 1883. E. F. Holden also donated $25,000 as an endowment to help maintain the building. When completed, the observatory held an eight inch Alvin Clark telescope, 3 inch reversible transit, a comet seeker, chronograph and chronometer. The telescope was housed in a tower with a rotating dome. In 1980, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In June 1991, L.D. Dexheimer & Son Inc. moved the 320-ton building to a new location at the rate of 4 inches an hour, an effort that lasted three days. The $200,000 move was necessary to make room for Eggers Hall.