The original observatory building was constructed in a pasture lot near Mr. Hequembourg's home. It contained a library, a darkroom for photographic work, and a gallery at the top.

The telescope was mounted on a brick pier forty-five feet high, tapering from five to three feet in diameter. To minimize vibrations, no part of the surrounding building touched the pier.

A dome made of bronze turned on a track containing large iron ball bearings.


Charles Ezra Hequembourg, a civil engineer and pioneer in natural gas development, designed and built the original observatory in 1897. The observatory was located in Dunkirk, New York.

The Telescope as Installed in the Hequembourg Observatory

When completed in March of 1897 by Washington D.C. astronomical instrument maker G. N. Saegmuller, the telescope had a 9-inch lens with a focal length of 117 inches. The control handles, made of ebony, were mounted on steel shafts. A mechanical clock drive powered by a falling weight allowed the telescope to follow the diurnal motion of the celestial sphere. The German equatorial mounting had coordinate setting circles engraved in silver. Electrically illuminated, the circles could be viewed through small telescopes near the eyepiece end of the instrument.

Mr. Hequembourg died in 1907, and in 1914 his widow sold the observatory to Mr. Elmer Harrold of Leetonia, Ohio.

Please continue with the recent history.

Additional information may be found in an article, The Observatory Key , by Hilda M. Hequembourg (daughter of Mr. Hequembourg), on page 57 of the January, 1952,
issue of Sky & Telescope magazine.