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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Chabot Observatory

Founded 1883

 
 
Chabot Observatory Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 26, 2009
1. Chabot Observatory Marker
The marker was unveiled at a 125th anniversary celebration of the observatory on June 21, 2008, with local politicians in attendance, and a torch-relay was run between this and the current site of the observatory, with Olympians Marilyn King, Pamela Jiles, and Eddie Hart participating.
Inscription. This marker, dedicated June 21, 2008, celebrates Chabot Space & Science Center's 125 years of inspiring Bay Area star gazers and curious minds of all ages.

From 1883-1915, an observatory on this site housed Chabot's first telescope, "Leah," an 8-inch refractor donated by Anthony Chabot.

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Chabot Observatory Today
"Leah," Chabot's original 8-inch refractor, is still in use today at the new Space & Science Center, located in Joaquin Miller Park in the Oakland Hills.

The Science Center hosts public viewing through the telescope on Friday and Saturday night, weather permitting.
 
Erected 2008.
 
Location. 37° 48.215′ N, 122° 16.596′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is at the intersection of Jefferson Street and 11th Street, on the right when traveling south on Jefferson Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Oakland CA 94607, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lafayette Square Timeline (within shouting distance of this marker); The Pardee House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Preservation Park
Chabot Observatory Marker - Wide Shot Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 26, 2009
2. Chabot Observatory Marker - Wide Shot
(about 700 feet away); Charles S. Greene Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Unitarian Church of Oakland (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jefferson Square Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oakland City Hall (approx. mile away); 1946 General Strike (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakland.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located in Lafayette Park, set in a 2 1/2 foot tall cement base, located on the northern side of a very low round hill.
 
Regarding Chabot Observatory.

Born in Quebec, Chabot came to California in 1849 and worked in the gold mining industry. He is credited with being the father of hydraulic mining, the technique whereby large volumes of water were directed under high pressure at hillsides to wash away the soil and separate it from the gold-bearing ore. Chabot left the mining industry in 1856, and combined his entrepreneurial and engineering skills to set up companies to supply water to a number of growing California cities.

Chabot agreed to provide funds to Oakland for both a telescope, and an
Chabot Observatory Photo, Click for full size
By W. S. Jones, 1889
3. Chabot Observatory
Photo taken from Picturesque Oakland: 1889, by Britton and Rey, and provided courtesy of the Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library.
observatory to house it. The Oakland Observatory opened on November 24th, 1883.

In 1885 the observatory obtained a second telescope and chronometers, and became the official local timekeeper.

When Chabot died in 1888, the observatory was renamed in his honor.

Increasing light pollution in the downtown area made it necessary to abandon the old site in 1915, and build a new observatory about 5 miles east of the old site, in the Oakland Hills. The original telescope was relocated to the new site, and a new 20 inch refractor was added, as well.

Increasing light pollution and the increasing awareness of the seismic vulnerabilities of this second observatory induced the city to build yet a third observatory, in a new location, with the construction of the new facility paid for by a $17 million earmark ("Advanced Optical Services") in the Air Force's budget. The new facility opened in 2000 with the two old telescopes, plus a new 36 inch model.
 
Also see . . .  Chabot Space & Science Center Since 1883. The Chabot Space & Science Center's (formerly Chabot Observatory) history page, includes photos and a timeline of the history of the observatory. (Submitted on May 13, 2009.) 
 
Categories. Notable BuildingsScience & Medicine
 
Anthony Chabot (b. August 13, 1813 , d. January 6, 1888) Photo, Click for full size
By Isaiah West Taber, 1883
4. Anthony Chabot (b. August 13, 1813 , d. January 6, 1888)
Photo provided courtesy of the Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 1,617 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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