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Yerkes Observatory

373 West Geneva Street

By chance the new Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, George Hale, discovers that two optically perfect disks are available. These 42-inch "blanks" could be ground to create a 40-inch refracting telescope, the largest in the world. He and the dynamic president of the university set off to find a donor willing to purchase these disks; build the telescope; and pay for a "suitable observatory" to house the World's Largest Telescope. For more in depth history, visit the links on the left hand side of the page.


Brian Willmas

Sunday, July 29, 2018
Best $10 tour I have ever been on. I'm not a total science geek, but this tour was Awesome! So much history, and the building is beautiful. Get there this year, as there's talk of the U of Chicago mothballing this history place next year. I realize that there are bigger and better observatories available for the advance of science. But couldn't the Yerkes be converted into some sort of museum of space or observatory discoveries? If you are just even a little bit into space and the heavens, this is a must see. Also our tour guide, a older gentleman - but what a wealth of knowledge.

Tony Pettipiece

Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018
My first ever review on Google and I'm happy to say that it's on our visit to Yerkes. Great, knowledgeable staff, fascinating piece of science history. I highly recommend a visit before the end of Sept 2018 when the University of Chicago must pull funding and Yerkes closes, to hopefully, come back as an independent foundation. And it's about an hour south of Frank Lloyd Wright country.

Katie Daniel

Sunday, June 17, 2018
This building is absolutely amazing. I'm hearing rumors that it may have to close due to funding issues. Sad to hear it because this building has historical, scientific and Architectural significance. Albert Einstein stopped here on his travels. Although when we came it was closed. It was cool enough just to walk around the grounds. They're also tapping some sort of syrup on the grounds from the trees. I do wonder what that was! I definitely recommend visiting and I will be back when it's open.

Ham Solo

Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Beautiful building on exceptional grounds. Located on scenic lake Geneva. Tours are awesome and informative. Great place to visit for an hour or two. Parking is a bit tight. This place has to stay open for tomorrow's astronomers. Small gift shop. Tours are $10 (cash or credit). Well worth the trip.

Zhenhao Shi

Sunday, March 11, 2018
This place is amazing and the tour is wonderful. My wife and I were not expecting much before the tour, but we felt surprised and impressed by what we received. The tour guide provided us a very meaningful tour, including the description of the architecture details. There were many symbols embedded in the architecture details. The tour guide gave very interesting interpolation and explanation about how these symbols may be related to the founder and the functions of this historic observatory. The director Dan showed us how the amazing telescope operates in its usual working status. What impressed us the most is the enthusiasm of people who work in this observatory. We can feel they really love this place and this job. We are very grateful what they have done, not only maintaining this old facility, saving this site with historic meaning, but also educating and exciting people who have ever visited this observatory.

Yerkes Observatory is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media