Not only did Peoria Astronomical Society (PAS) cofounder Rollin Van Zandt convince former Caterpillar VP Murray Baker to support the construction of Northmoor Observatory in Donovan Park, he also discovered the nine-inch refractor telescope which still resides there—under the bleachers in the old Field House at Bradley University.
The telescope was built in 1913 for the Illinois Watch Company, which used the stars to calibrate its watchworks. Bradley purchased the telescope intending to construct its own observatory, but abandoned the project when the Great Depression hit. It lay dormant in storage for years before being rediscovered, reassembled and transported to Northmoor, where the PAS began offering free viewings to the public.
These public viewings continue today on cloudless Saturday evenings through October, with PAS volunteers ready to assist in your discovery of the cosmos. Learn more at astronomical.org. iBi