620 Castle Street, Geneva NY | 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 R. Brooks, 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.