The first six pages here cover the initial construction of the observatory in 2001.
These pages cover mainly the two roll-off-roof buildings. For details of the dome construction in 2006, skip to here.
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The design of the observatory buildings is based loosely on plans found at the website for Bruce Johnston's roll-off-roof observatory. The roof rolls off on long rails extending north of the buildings, as in a standard roll-off-roof type observatory, but in this case the upper portion of the walls go with them. This allows lower walls for a less obstructed view of objects near the horizon. A small door in the upper south wall opens to clear the scope when the roof is rolled back.
The ground plan was laid out at the site in March. Concrete for the pier bases and storage shed/patio area was poured in mid-April, and then Kramer Lumber of Frankfort put up the storage shed (we did that first so we'd have a place to store construction tools).
Real construction began on May 5. The post holes were dug with a tractor mounted auger and the bottom 3 1/2 feet of each treated 4X4 post was coated with tar. Double posts were bolted together for added strength at the corners. Then the posts were dropped in the holes.
Thank God for power tools!
At this point we called it "Woodhenge"!
The first day's work crew (l-r)- John Mahony, Craig Overman, Russ Kaspar, Cal Brallier, Jerry Seager, Hoppy Bray, and also photographer George Wyncott. Catering by Susan "Susie Homemaker" Kaspar.
Aluminum plates were placed over the piers
The storage shed/warming room and patio