One of the people to visit this new institution, in its first year of operation, was Leo J. Scanlon of the Summer Hill neighborhood on Pittsburgh's North Side. The previous year(on June 9, 1929), Mr. Scanlon and Chester B. Roe co-founded the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh. Later in 1930, Mr. Scanlon would construct the world's first astronomical observatory with an all-aluminum dome, in the back yard of his property. The Valley View Observatory was razed in August of 1997. However, the historic observatory dome was kept and will be placed atop a new Valley View Observatory, to be constructed near the Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory in Deer Lakes Regional County Park(northeast of Pittsburgh), operated by the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh.
Leo Scanlon was so impressed with the Adler Planetarium, and with this new method of explaining Astronomy to the public, that he, and the Amateur Astronomers' Association of Pittsburgh, started lobbying Pittsburgh foundations, and the Pittsburgh City Government, to obtain funding for construction of a planetarium in Pittsburgh.
Their efforts were successful when, in 1937, the Buhl Foundation agreed to
construct a planetarium and science institute for Pittsburgh. The City of
Pittsburgh agreed to provide a prominent site on the City's North Side for
the institution. The Buhl Foundation paid the entire cost of the
$1,070,000 building -- then conveyed The Buhl
Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, and all of its contents,
to the City of Pittsburgh at the building's dedication
on October 24, 1939.
Leo Scanlon became one of the first two Planetarium Lecturers in Buhl's "Theater of the Stars." The other Planetarium Lecturer was Nicholas E. Wagman, Ph.D., then Director of the University of Pittsburgh's Allegheny Observatory(located only three miles north of the Planetarium). Mr. Scanlon passed-away on November 27, 1999, at the age of 96 years.
Adler Planetarium and Astronomical Museum, An Account of the Optical Planetarium and a Brief Guide to the Museum is reproduced, in its entirety, in the following image links. The copy of this book, reproduced here, came from the collection of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie, Pennsylvania.
This Internet, World Wide Web Site, created October 3, 1999, administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
© Copyright 1999-2000, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Additions and corrections to: Jake@planetarium.cc
Last modified : Sunday, 23-Jul-2000 17:55:03 EDT.