Nebraska June 02, 2019
This Century-Old Observatory Is A Nebraska Treasure You’ll Want To Visit
If you love astronomy almost as much as you love Nebraska history, there’s one small-town attraction you need to see in person. The Boswell Observatory on the campus of Doane University is a truly unique historic destination that the whole family will love.
Boswell Observatory was built in 1883 and named for the stepfather of one of Doane's early teachers. It took $5,000 to construct the building and place the original telescope. Accounting for inflation, that would be more than $126,000 today.
The building (pictured here in 1894) was possibly the first weather service headquarters in the state, though it no longer serves that purpose. Today, it's equal parts museum and sky-viewing facility. The original 8" telescope has been restored and is still used today.
When it was new, the observatory contained several clocks which kept sidereal and standard mean time, as well as program time for the campus classroom bells. There have been many restorations and renovations over the years, but the building has remained largely the same.
Inside, you'll find a scattering of exhibits related to the facility's history. A collection of celestial globes is particularly compelling, and you'll also see information regarding its history as a time service observatory and weather station.
The observatory is still in use by Doane students, and it's a popular destination for visitors. It's a must-see for first year students who are just discovering everything the beautiful campus has to offer.
Boswell Observatory is open to the public for several special viewing events throughout the year. The whole family will love peering through the vintage telescope and learning about the celestial objects they see.
Learn more about the Boswell Observatory on the
Doane University website or the observatory’s Facebook page. Address: East 10th Street, Crete, NE 68333.
Take a peek at another lovely piece of architecture while you’re in Crete – learn all about it in
this article from the archives.