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The Cincinnati Observatory Center


A beautiful 80 degree day brought over 300 people to the lawns surrounding The Cincinnati Observatory Center on Mt. Lookout in Hyde Park May 17,1998, for the Observatory’s National Historic Landmark Designation Ceremony. The Observatory, the nation's first, now joins 11 other structures in Cincinnati with this prestigious designation. These structures are recognized as being of significance not only to the city, but to the nation as a whole. The Cincinnati Observatory can proudly lay claim to being "the birthplace of American astronomy".

During the Designation Ceremony, students from Kilgour intermediate choir, under the direction of Billie Houston, gave a charming presentation of bell-ringing and astronomically relevant songs about the sun and moon. The Hyde Park Community Brass, under the direction of C. Hartjke , began the formalities with "America" and closed with a choral piece before turning to lighter numbers such as "Fly Me to the Moon"

One of several elected officials noted in the crowd was Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who delivered a brief address declaring May 17 "Cincinnati Observatory Center Day in Cincinnati" and read a letter of congratulations from John Glenn, the nation's oldest astronaut to the nation's oldest observatory. Also present was Congressman Rob Portman who presented a copy of a Congressional Proclamation to Juan Santamarina, Trustee of the Observatory Center. The Proclamation had been entered into the Congressional Record earlier that week. Other officials in attendance joined the crowd in touring the nineteenth-century buildings and viewing the sun through the 1843 telescope. They were Senator Richard Finan, Jana Morford, representing Senator DeWine's office, Cincinnati Council members Bobbie Sterne and Todd Portune. Apologies were received from State Representative Jaqueline O'Brien who was unable to attend due to illness.

For many, the highlight of the afternoon was a touching address given by Marilyn Herget, Euclid, Ohio, daughter of Paul Herget, the world renowned Director of the Observatory from 1942 - 1978. Ms. Herget noted that future plans to restore the Observatory and implement a vibrant educational program and a museum of astronomical artifacts, was a long-time dream of her father's. She was joined by Everett and John Yowell of Dayton, sons of an earlier Observatory Director, Everett Yowell, in planting a climbing rose in honor of their fathers.

Dale McGirr, Vice President for Finance at the University of Cincinnati, spoke of the successful working partnerships between the neighborhood and other groups involved in planning for the Observatory’s future.

Here's the article from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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