Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Williams Observatory

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Institution Name: Hood College
Original/Historic Place Name: Williams Observatory
Location on Campus: main campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1924original construction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: cement
Walls: brick
ca. 1924library
ca. 1924-present (2006)observatory
ca. 1924-present (2006)classrooms

Williams Observatory, built in 1924, has retained its original charm as an observatory and academic building on the Hood campus. It was built and named in honor of a lawyer and bank president, John H. Williams of Frederick, through a bequest from his daughter, M. Janet Williams of Frederick. The building was renovated in 1985 and houses classrooms, a library, an observation deck, and a telescope built by Alvan Clark and Sons. The eight-inch lens of the telescope was originally made for the Harvard College Observatory in the early 1870s and was used for some of the earliest photographic studies of stellar spectra.

Hood opens the observatory to the community for special events or whenever favorable viewing conditions for planets or other popular sights are present.


Hood College District [Boundary Increase. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1988.

People Behind the Names. Pamphlet. Frederick, MD: Hood College, 1996.


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Last update: November 2006