Built nearly 200 years ago, the Loomis Observatory in Hudson is a national treasure

Posted at 7:58 AM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 10:22:16-04

HUDSON, Ohio — Ohio’s history runs deep. Inside a three-room brick building with a copper dome sits an incredible piece of our state’s history. The Loomis Observatory in Hudson may be small in size, but its history goes way back.

Built nearly 200 years ago in Hudson, the Loomis Observatory is the oldest observatory in the country still standing on its original foundation.

Back in 1838, it was a pioneering force in studying the sun, stars and space. The original foundation is not just anchored in the record books, it’s history runs deep.

“Elias Loomis wanted to guard against vibrations in the earth... he knew that there were little vibrations and one way to steady that was to make it go down into the ground. so yes, it's on it's original foundation,” said Tom Vince, the historian at the Western Reserve Academy’s Campus.

Vince said Loomis came to Ohio with a mission‑ to building an observatory and get a better understanding of the cosmos.

"Elias Loomis made a tremendous difference nationally and internationally... I think what Elias Loomis brought was an awareness of the larger world,” he said.

Loomis was ahead of his time. He brought three different types of telescopes and a regulator clock to the observatory, which is still keep accurate time today, nearly 170 years later.

While the clock is no longer in the observatory since it’s stored in a safe place, all three telescopes are still there and working.

From Hailey’s Comet to thousands of stars and even storms, Loomis wrote down everything he observed. There are dozens of his letters and books dating back to 1930s, some are still on campus.

Loomis didn’t just focus on the stars, he also had a passion for weather. He documented the path of a violent story back in 1842 and wrote several letters to officials explaining the need for weather stations throughout that nation. It was 40 years before, what is now known as the National Weather Service, was formed.

Visit the Loomis Observatory: 115 College Street in Hudson.