Yerkes Observatory

  • Yerkes Observatory from Williams Bay
    Yerkes Observatory from Williams Bay

Yerkes Observatory, built in 1895, is a historic astronomy research institution near the north shore of Geneva Lake in Wisconsin, owned by the University of Chicago. In early summer 2018, My sister Patty told me Yerkes Observatory was ending its public tours in October. In late June, I drove up there to take a look around, and to get some photos of Yerkes. Patty and Paul recently bought a cottage near the north shore, east of Yerkes, across Williams Bay. My grandfather originally had rented a cottage for his kids in Williams Bay many years ago. Eventually he purchased one near the south shore when his kids had families. Each family would spend about 3 weeks there during the summer. My parents later owned homes there, and eventually Patty would as well. Our earliest memories of Yerkes were viewing it across the lake from the south shore. Above the trees, you could clearly see the 3 observatories: the large one at the west end and the two smaller ones east. Lately, the smaller ones have become harder to see as the trees have matured further and begun to obscure their view from the lake. My parents took us on the Yerkes tour when we were young and we observed the interior of the majestic structure we previously only viewed on the horizon above the shoreline. We are hoping that Yerkes’ historic significance is appreciated and the institution is respected and endures.




Author: Eric Schuurman

Eat your vegetables.