The story of a forgotten America.

Reach for the Stars

Light pollution eventually forced the historic Warner & Swasey Observatory in Ohio to close. Constructed by Worchester Warner and Ambrose Swasey of Warner & Swasey as a gift for Case Western Reserve University, the observatory closed in 1982 and the property eventually fell into foreclosure. It was sold to a couple who began work to rehabilitate the building until the pair were convicted of mortgage fraud.

What would Mr. Warner and Mr. Swasey think of today’s treatment of their historic structure—a building that, for decades, helped astronomers discover what Buzz Aldrin called the “magnificent desolation” and furthered the cause of science over speculation?

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