Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles CA


The Astronomer’s Monument at the Griffith Observatory was constructed in 1934 by the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP). “Using a design by local artist Archibald Garner and materials donated by the Womens’ Auxiliary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Garner and five other artists sculpted and cast the concrete monument and figures. Each artist was responsible for sculpting one astronomer [Hipparchus, Copernicus, Galilei, Kepler, Newton, and Herschel]; one of the artists, George Stanley, was also the creator of the famous ‘Oscar’ statuette….On November 25, 1934 (about six months prior to the opening of the Observatory), a celebration took place to mark completion of the Astronomers Monument, which had proven to be the most ambitious creation of the PWAP. The only ‘signature’ on the Astronomers Monument is ‘PWAP 1934’ referring to the federal agency which funded the project and the year it was completed.”

Source notes

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere & Mark Pine on July 14, 2013.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Coordinates: 34.118375, -118.300354

4 comments on “Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles CA

  1. Good afternoon. While I enjoyed this listing, the fundamental fact is incorrect: Griffith Observatory was NOT a WPA project. All elements of the Observatory building, which opened in 1935, were funded from the 1919 bequest by Griffith J. Griffith.

    One important element on the Observatory grounds WAS funded by an element of the New Deal: the Astronomers Monument, which was a Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) installation completed in late 1934. Here’s more information about the monument:


    • Gabriel Milner

      Thank you for passing along this correction and the helpful link. We’ve made the necessary changes and credited you as a contributor.

  2. Andrew Laverdiere

    Mark is correct that it wasn’t a WPA project since construction began in mid 1933. However, the LA Dept. Of Water and Power website archive that I got this off of might have confused the PWA with the WPA. I’ve emailed them to confirm.

  3. Paul N. Leckner

    Wow! Another famous Los Angeles icon that has a back story. Thank you for the clarification. The unvarnished truth is always best. I have been there and saw the statue dedication to he actor James Dean. I also saw the movie Rebel Without a Cause.

Leave a Reply

Before leaving a comment, please note:

  • Comments allow viewers to share information with others or alert us to errors or changes in a New Deal site.
  • We are not involved in the management of New Deal sites and have no information about visits, hours or rentals.
  • This page shows all the information we have for this site; if you have new information or photos to share, click below.


We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.