620 Castle Street, Geneva, New York | Officially Marked Monument
Millionaire philanthropist and partly closeted freethinker William Smith erected this small but well-equipped observatory—along with a comfortable brick house for its director—next door to his own red-brick mansion in Geneva, New York, in 1888. Smith recruited astronomer William Robert Brooks (1844-1921), who used the observatory’s 10-inch Warner and Swasey refractor telescope and 4-inch transit telescope to discover a great number of comets, bringing scientific fame to Geneva just as Smith had hoped.
Smith Observatory (white) is shown at center. At left is the red-brick residence of observatory director William Brooks. During Brooks's tenure, the facility was known as the Red House Observatory, named for the residence.