ITEMS FROM RECENT OCCASIONAL NEWSLETTERS OF CHAMBERLIN OBSERVATORY
(to subscribe, send name and address to Chamberlin Observatory, 2930 E. Warren
Avenue, Denver CO 80208 USA)
RESTORATION UPDATES THE HOWE DIARIES HONOR ROLL
Restoration repairs completed during Phase 1 (1997) included: basement
stabilization (numerous repair and replacement tasks including floor
replacement and wall repair); dome leakage repair; exterior subsurface
drainage and surface improvements; rebuild of north stair cover. The
$158,000 involved in this effort was provided by the Colorado State Historical
Society (CHS), DU and the 1772 Foundation -- to whom we are most grateful.
CHS allows for follow-on grant applications, and requires a Master Plan for
building preservation to be submitted by the end of Phase 1 (April 1998).
Meetings with stakeholders are underway (DU astronomy, Univ Park, Denver
Astronomical Society, etc), and a copy of the draft plan is available on
request. Comments are welcome.
Currently, the Master Plan development/proposed work for coming year(s)
includes the following. This work is subject to finding matching funds as
required by CHS. Cost figures are extremely rough estimates at this stage.
1. Emergency Work: largely completed during 1997 ($158k).
2. Urgent repair/rehab (1-2 years): complete repairs to heating
system; replace existing basement windows; grout stone masonry foundation
walls; explore internal wall conditions; vent system for excess moisture
3. Important repair/rehab (2-6 years): repair/replace exterior windows
and screens on first and second floors; repair/replace doors; test exterior
stonework for restoration and repair treatments; repair/repaint interior
plasterwork and floors; electrical system rehab ($155k+).
4. Routine repair/maint: DU Physical Plant.
5. Discretionary work: lighting; phone/computer wiring; displays; solar
power, etc. (subject to availability of funds).
Updates on this process will appear in future newsletters.
The HOWE DIARIES:
As previously mentioned, a major find of 40+ years worth of annual personal
diaries by Chamberlin Observatory first Director, Prof. Herbert A. Howe, have
illuminated the early years of both the Observatory and DU. In this regular
feature, we provide a look into some of the interesting facets found in these
pages, courtesy Howe's grandson, Herbert J., who is compiling a biography
based on these.
Herbert Alonzo Howe (1858-1926) was Professor of Astronomy at the University
of Denver, and first Director of Chamberlin Observatory. During the 1990s,
Herbert J. Howe found a large collection of his grandfather's annual diaries.
HJH is carefully assembling these into a new biography, which we will announce
as soon as available.
A review of selected pages of the diaries spanning the period of Chamberlin
Observatory's construction (1888-1894) provides much insight into observatory
and telescope details, as well as the life and times of Howe's family, the
young Denver University and America. In this column, we provide thematic
materials that readers may find of interest. I am grateful to Herbert J.
Howe for access to these materials.
--DU Prof. R.E.Stencel, Jan.1998
Preview -- selections from the following topics, which will appear in more
detail in subsequent issues:
CHAMBERLIN OBSERVATORY, 7/14/1894 -- [First light] ...put on the eye
end and the objective. By working some in the evening, the instrument was
gotten fairly balanced and we looked through it. Fannie [Howe] looked first
at a star: after that the telescope was pointed to the moon and then the
cluster in Hercules, which looked fine despite the moon and haze.
THE STUDENT OBSERVATORY, 5/4/1891 -- [First light] The keys to both
doors of the little observatory were turned over to me. Looked at Saturn and
some double stars in the evening: had quite a time getting the driving clock
to drive the instrument. Some pieces of the driving mechanism were put
together too tightly by the men who packed the instrument.
LIFE IN DENVER AND AT DU, 3/7/1894 -- The Freshmen had their hair
curled, had canes, flowers, etc. Consequently Tom Sheffer was pitched upon by
two Sophomores, right by the Chancellor's recitation room door. The Chancellor
kept the two classes after chapel and gave them a talking to about such
SCIENTIFIC CONTACTS, 9/22/1893 -- A letter from Prof.Mendenhall asks
permisison to have a distinguished French geodisist have my cooperation in
making pendulum observations here. 10/25/1893 -- Found by leveling from the
track of the electric (trolley) that the floor of the round cellar of the
observatory was 205 feet above the city datum.
THE SILVER CRASH, 7/11/1893 -- The morning paper reports that Mr.
Chamberlin's assets are $1,800,000 in excess of his liabilities. So I hope
that he may come out OK in the end. Grandpa Shattuck thinks the financial
condition in Denver very shaky and that if a run began on one bank, all the
others would have to shut up in order to defend themselves. 7/15/1893 -- Mr.
Chamberlin sends me documents with reference to his failure and says he is
cleaned out, but that he will carry out the telescope contract. Poor man.
FACTS AND FIGURES, 6/5/1893 -- The Astronomy & Astrophysics for June
came, containing my article on electric lighting, and also an announcement
that Dr.Swift was to bring his telescope to Boulder.
--> Much more to follow. (c) HJHowe, with permission. <--
HONOR ROLL: There have been many supporters of Chamberlin Activities, and we
salute those who have recently pledged volunteer time and/or money to keep the
Chamberlin Observatory astronomy program alive: Denver Astronomical Society;
University Park Community Council, University of Denver Physical Plant; Denver
Parks and Recreation . Also, very special thanks, with
Gold Stars: The Silverman Family Foundation
The Marlar Foundation
Silver Stars: Bette & Jim Hurlbut
Send us your Chamberlin memories!
We are interested in brief reports of personally significant events that
involved Chamberlin Observatory. Selected items will appear in future
Newsletters. Submit material to the address below.
Your help is needed:
Join the Friends of Chamberlin Observatory
If you would like to receive the occasional newsletter of Chamberlin
Observatory, please send your name and address to:
FRIENDS OF CHAMBERLIN OBSERVATORY
c/o Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Denver
Denver, Colorado 80208, USA
Tax-deductible contributions in support of the restoration and renovation of
the facility are welcome. Checks may be made to:
University of Denver/Chamberlin Fund,
and mailed in care of Chamberlin Observatory, Department of Physics and
Astronomy, University of Denver, Denver CO 80208 USA.
Receipts will be return mailed. Thank you.
The Occasional Newsletter of the CHAMBERLIN OBSERVATORY is edited
by Dr. Bob Stencel of the Department of Physics at the University of Denver,
on behalf of the Friends Of Chamberlin Observatory [FOCO] and the Astronomical
League’s MARS region [MARS/FRASC].
Back to main
Prof. Stencel, Director, University of Denver Observatories.