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.
The Cincinnati Observatory, founded by Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel in 1842, is America’s oldest public/professional observatory. The observatory was situated on Mt. Adams, east of the current downtown Cincinnati; the hill was named for former President John Quincy Adams when he laid the observatory’s cornerstone. In 1873 the observatory was relocated to Mt. Lookout when it became a component of the University of Cincinnati (UC). From 1870s until 1930s the stellar proper motion studies reigned as the observatory’s principal activity.