Detroit Observatory, photo c. 1865
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Detroit Observatory-University of Michigan
1308Ann Street, Ann Arbor - Washtenaw County
Property Type observatory
Historic Use EDUCATION
Current Use EDUCATION
Style Greek Revival
Italianate
Architect/Builder George Bird
Narrative Description The Detroit Observatory on the campus of the University of Michigan is a rectangular structure with a square, two story, hip-roofed central mass flanked by single-story flat roofed wings. The stucco-covered frame walls are supported by a smooth cut, raised stone foundation. A revolving central dome dominates the central mass. The roofline is ornamented with brackets and the facade is fronted by a Doric portico in antis supporting a balustraded entablature.
Statement of Significance The Detroit Observatory is one of the oldest of its type in the nation and is the second oldest building on the University of Michigan's campus. At the time of construction, the observatory's twelve-inch refracting telescope was the largest to be constructed in the United States. The firm of Pistor and Martins of Berlin completed the building in 1854 and the telescope was contracted by Henry Fitz of New York. The observatory was rehabilitated by the university during the late 1990s.
Period of Significance 1826-1865
Significant Date(s) 1853, 1854
Registry Type(s) 09/20/1973 National Register listed
02/19/1958 State Register listed
Site ID# P3775