University of Mississippi: Kennon Observatory – University MS

Description

Kennon Observatory, one of 39 buildings constructed by the PWA on the campus during the years 1936-1941, was designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2011.

“Kennon Observatory was constructed in 1939, and once again, R. W. Naef was the architect.  Naef apparently held the reins to all of the New Deal construction on campus during those years.”   (https://misspreservation.com/)

Dr. William Lee Kennon was “instrumental in securing the funding for Lewis Hall and Kennon Observatory, and conceived the building design (University of Mississippi, Department of Physics and Astronomy history).

An adaptation of classicism (J. Baughn, Mississippi Department of Archives and History), the observatory faces due south and is aligned east to west. It is topped by two copper-roofed domes, which house a 5-inch telescope and a 15-inch telescope. The slanted roof of the transit room opens for observations using a 3-inch telescope.

The railing of the rear entrance features an example of the Pythagorean Theorem. Although it is partially obscured by the addition of the handicap accessibility ramp, it is visible to the careful observer. The front entrance features Doric columns and the rear entrance is accentuated with pilasters. The octagonal room and the Little Dome were refurbished in 1997.

The building is still in use, and is opened to the public for observations several times each year.

Source notes

Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory database.

Sansing, D. S. (1999). The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History. Jackson: University Press.

Walton, G. W. (2008). The University of Mississippi: A Pictorial History. Nashville: Booksmith Group.

University of Mississippi, Department of Physics and Astronomy. History. olemiss.edu.

https://misspreservation.com/2013/05/21/new-deal-on-um-campus-kennon-observatory/

Project originally submitted by Susan Allen on May 27, 2013.

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Location Info


677 All American Drive
University, Mississippi 38677

Coordinates: 34.364372, -89.531224

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