The Cincinnati Observatory, “The Birthplace of American Astronomy,” is the oldest professional observatory in the United States. Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, the “Father of American Astronomy,” founded the observatory in 1842. John Quincy Adams laid the cornerstone for the observatory on Mt. Ida, later renamed Mt. Adams. The original Merz und Mahler 11-inch refractor telescope was put into service in 1845 and is still in use here today on Mount Lookout.
Inferior water and the lack of a sufficient water supply prompted public pressure to find a significant water source for the 360,000 of people living in New York City at the time. Studies determined that the Croton River, 40 miles north of the city, was the best available source. The original system served as a prototype for large-scale water supply projects across America.