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.


Matt Kovar

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018

We had a private tour for 12 people. Cost was very reasonable. 90 minutes that covered history of the building, architecture and the 40" refractor telescope. We actually got to see the telescope move, the floor elevate and the dome turn. Everybody was enthralled by the telescope demonstration. A definite must see. Ask about the actual guided viewing through two different telescopes on site.

Ryan Cap

Friday, Dec. 29, 2017

Wonderful piece of history. The campus is still active with students from the University of Chicago. The school and historical society put on real amazing star gazing nights. It is a great stroll through history with the tours they offer.

Paige Hamann

Friday, Nov. 17, 2017

This is a really beautiful historic building, and our tour was interesting and our tour guide a very kind and enthusiastic man who obviously enjoys what he does. Excellent tour. The woman in the gift shop was rude, and then she shorted me $20 on my change, balling it up with my receipt and shoving it into my hand at the same time as my items. Unfortunately I didn't notice until we we're well down the road, so I didn't get to confront her. But you can't let one bad egg ruin the basket, and all in all it was a really nice visit and our tour guide really was fantastic, so I'm still giving it 5 stars. 😊

Becky Rogers

Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017

9.1.17 We had a wonderful experience at the special 40'' telescope tour! Dan our astronomer guide gave us plenty of viewing time and taught us very interesting facts about Saturn, the moon, binary stars and globular clusters. It was also great getting to see the beautiful Observatory too. Be sure when you go to be very respectful of other guests and the guide by being good listeners and following directions.

Bruce Krobusek

Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2017

While I was familiar with the history of the telescope, I had no idea that the building's architecture was as fascinating as it is! The docent was very knowledgeable and willing to answer whatever questions we had. If you like architecture and/or astronomical history, you need to visit this place!