mounting and tube for the great telescope of Yerkes Observatory
is on display at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
a letter from Warner & Swasey asking where the final site will
be. Because of the rush to display the mounting and tube at the
World's Fair, they need the latitude in order to correctly build
the polar axis of the telescope. Hale, who is in Cleveland consulting
with Warner & Swasey, also writes to Harper, pressuring him
with the need to pick a site.
A committee consisting of President William Rainey Harper and Martin
A. Ryerson, President of the Board of Trustees, assisted by Hale
as Head of the Astronomy Department, begins to visit sites and carefully
consider the offers.
The work of grinding the 40-inch objective is given to Carl A. R.
Lundin of Clark & Sons, who begins the actual work on January
14. It will take 2 years, 10 months to complete.
Carl A. R. Lundin
Clark writes to
Harper that Mantois, the manufacturer of the lens blanks, is annoyed
because he has not received any more payments.
John Johnston, a retired Chicago lawyer and real estate speculator,
extends an invitation to the site committee to visit his "Gardeners"
house in Lake Geneva. He has a team of horses and will drive them
wherever they need to go. He looks forward to showing them the "ideal
site" for the new telescope.
Concerns that Geneva Lake will affect observations are discussed with
Burnham, an astronomer living in Chicago who had spent a year at the
Washburn Observatory in Madison, Wisconsin. Washburn is surrounded
by small lakes equaling Geneva Lake in size, and Burnham found they
caused no detriment to observations. He further verifies this assessment
by observing in Williams Bay at the 53 acre site along the lakefront
that is offered by Johnston. Other favorable assets of the Williams
Bay site are: a firm gravel ground base; a mile's distance from the
train tracks; the unlikelihood of future development by factories;
and its potential for remaining a summer resort area.
Using the responses
to the survey questions and a strong reliance on Burnham's professional
opinion, the committee presents its recommendation to the University
Board of Trustees on March 28. The committee states: "Of all
the locations offered that one which seems to your committee to possess
the greatest number of advantages is Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It is
conceded by all concerned that no site thus far suggested combines
in itself so many of the requirements, or any of the requirements
to so great a degree. The site is high and beautifully located, the
atmosphere is clear, without danger from the encroachment of manufactories,
railroads, or electric lights."
Original Land in Williams Bay, Wisconsin
The much ballyhooed
World's Columbian Exposition opens on the south shore of Lake Michigan
along Chicago's Midway Plaisance. On display in the Manufacturers
Building is the tube and mounting for the world's largest telescope,
a magnet for the curious visitors. Its builders, Warner & Swasey,
wasted no time engineering the 40-inch mounting which stands 43 feet
high and weighs 50 tons. Above the mounting are the polar axis and
the declination axis, both used to turn the telescope. Together they
weigh 5 tons. A driving gear at the upper end of the polar axis weighs
20 tons. Finally, the telescope tube, 60 feet long, weighing 6 tons,
points expectantly toward the sky.
C. A. R. Lundin
begins polishing the 40-inch objective on June 23, at the Clark &
Sons factory in Cambridgeport.
Hale, and his assistant, Ferdinand Ellerman, observe from the Williams
Bay site with a 4-inch telescope in order to compare the results obtained
in the previous winter.
The 40 inch telescope at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago
Hale sails to Europe
with his wife to study in Berlin for a year.
A fire at the Columbian Exposition spreads to the Manufacturer's Building,
endangering the telescope tube and mounting. The exhibit is quickly
dismantled and all but the five heaviest pieces are removed to safety.
Harper concluded, "I left the building still burning at 11:30,
but I think we have saved the telescope."
December 9th, Burnham writes to Hale, informing him that the Williams
Bay site has finally been chosen. Approximate latitude of the Yerkes
Observatory is +42 degrees 34 minutes 15 seconds; longitude is -88 degrees
33 minutes 22 seconds. Science (1897) reports, "The center
of motion of the great refractor is about 80 meters above the level
of Lake Geneva, which is about 600 meters distant, the elevation above
sea-level being about 400 meters. The railway station and post office
are over a kilometer distant, at Williams Bay, Wisconsin, on the Chicago
and Northwestern Railway, at a distance of 120 kilometers, or two
and one-half hours, from Chicago."
A letter from Harper also arrives, telling Hale of the fire in the
Manufacturer's Building and of the near disaster. He says he is writing
in a hurry, and all he has time to say is that most of the telescope
was saved. Hale is frantic to know what happened. With all these distractions
from home, he cannot concentrate on his studies, and tells Evelina
that he wants to go home.
Hale is not happy in Berlin. He is not fluent in German and grows
bored with his work. The living quarters are drabby and the sun rarely
shines. A letter from Henry Ives Cobb informs him that Yerkes has
lost interest in the observatory and is spending money lavishly on
his New York mansion. Yerkes plans to import the first Rodin into
the United States. Cobb thinks if some architectural plans of the
observatory could be given to Yerkes, he would get his mind on it
again, and put some money into the building of the observatory. Hale
writes back to Cobb, sending his ideas for the shape and function
of the building. He asks Cobb to draw up his designs and send them
back so he can work on them further.