Griffith Observatory History

Griffith Observatory History Blog

The history of Griffith Observatory started in the mid 1800s when Colonel Griffith J. Griffith went to Mt. Wilson Observatory that at the time had the world’s most powerful telescope. He looked through the telescope and was so moved by what he saw that he decided that “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would revolutionize the world.”

Griffith J. Griffith was set on building an observatory, so he spoke to the brightest minds on the subject and then he started a fund for it. When he died in 1919 work on the Observatory stopped but started up again in 1930 due to something he said in his will. His will stated that a telescope was to be built that was 12 inches in diameter. In 1931 the Griffith Trust Committee paid $14,900 to the Carl Zeiss Company located in Germany to build the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope to make Colonel Griffith’s dreams a reality.

The telescope was assembled and had a grand opening May 14, 1935 was cloudy, so people came back May 17th to look through the telescope on a clear night so they could see the amazing cosmos.

That is how Griffith Observatory came into existence and is now one of the stops on our Grand Los Angeles Tour.

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