The City

Collegeville (1887, 1895)
College Delta (1898, 1899)
Oakwood (1899)
Cedar Banks (1900)
College Grove (1903)
Fairview (1904, 1905)
College Heights (1904)

Charter of 1907

Avondale (1913)
Bungalow Knolls (1916)
Chesterfield Hills (1916)
Ardson (1919)
Ridgeley Park (1921)
Strathmore (1925)
Glen Cairn (1926)

The Campus




Interactive Map

Sites on the National and State Historic Registers

Complete list of
Significant Structures


Observatory (1880—?)

Astronomical Observatory, likely circa 1913. Photo Credit: Beal, p. 74.

Very little record of the College’s first Astronomical Observatory has been found. The equatorially mounted telescope gets a brief mention by Kuhn, but only Professor Beal gives it more than a single sentence:

“Professor R. C. Carpenter deserves credit for getting a telescope and accessories in good working trim at the College. The instrument is a fine one; it is mounted to move by clockwork, and although rather small—the lens only 5½ inches, was manufactured by the celebrated firm of Alvan Clark & Son. The observatory, located just northwest of the professor’s residence, is of brick, with movable roof.”[Beal, p. 75]

As Professor of Mathematics, Carpenter lived in Faculty Row № 2, and the Observatory was indeed virtually in the Professor’s back yard. This is its position on Newman’s 1915 map.

Its later existence is unclear. The building suffered an act of vandalism in 1915 that left “only the telescope” intact, and “subsequent catalogs describe an astronomy course but omit any references to the observatory.” It does not appear on a campus map of 1926, and it was certainly gone by 1937, when Sarah Langdon Williams Hall was built on its former site. After decades forgotten in storage in the Physics–Astronomy Building, the Clark telescope was rediscovered in the mid-1970s and saved. It is now in the collection of the Abrams Planetarium.[MSU Alumni Magazine, Winter 2004, p. 5]

Today, the M.S.U. Observatory stands north of the intersection of Forest and College Roads. Its 24-inch telescope, built by the Boller and Chivens Division of the Perkin-Elmer Corporation, was commissioned in 1969. Its Raytheon Microcomputer data gathering and control system was state-of-the-art when it was installed in 1974. Since the 1980s the telescope has employed a charge-coupled device for image gathering.