High Altitude and Clear Skies Made
An Ideal Site for the Observatory


This photograph of Lookout Mountain and the Observatory from the streets of Del Norte was taken in 1890.  It is featured here courtesy of the Monte Vista Historical Society, a great source of information and old images from throughout the San Luis Valley.

The Observatory from Del Norte - c1890

We can get a nice arm-chair view of Lookout Mountain courtesy of Google Earth without having to work our way up the 600' change in elevation.

It is the dream of the Lookout Mountain Observatory Association to locate the old telescope and rebuild the observatory.

Lookout Mountain, South of Del Norte Lookout Mountain, South of Del Norte Lookout Mountain, South of Del Norte Lookout Mountain, South of Del Norte
The Observatory on Lookout Mountain

Building The Observatory

By March 14, 1885, plans to construct an observatory on Mount Lookout were published in the local San Juan Prospector newspaper.

Shortly thereafter, being short on funds, the Rev. George M. Darley publicly challenged the men of the town to help him build the road.

Enthusiastic public response resulted in the construction of a passable road up to the top of Mount Lookout in a matter of weeks.

By April 4, 1885, building contracts were let for the observatory, a wagon road was to be laid to the summit, and frame buildings constructed for the observatory.

On the summit, rock was blasted to build a 14 by 20-foot reception room and a 20 by 20-foot domed observatory building with a revolving top; the observatory was to be fitted with an extra-large telescope.

A museum building was to be built on the point where the wagon road ended.  The observatory cost was estimated to total not less than $5,000.

Dr. A.J. Taylor
Rio Grande County Museum

Contact Us

The Lookout Mountain Observatory Association

PO Box 432
Del Norte, CO  81132

Or Email Alva Hibbs