Soon enough, the Knockinton Observatory soared before them. Its massive rotunda dominated the campus. Gnarled vines and leering gargoyles lent an old-world aura to the structure. The fantastic beasts posed between arches girdling the tower. Modern observatories reflect a sterile, science-based atmosphere embellished with chrome and glass to enthrall visitors with a glimpse of the future. The Knockinton clung to its origins, giving visitors historical respect for the development of astronomy over time.
- Excerpt from The Stars Prevail
The 1897 Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin (US) served as my inspiration for this scene. I toured the site of this great refractor telescope repeatedly while writing The Stars Prevail. The interior of the structure with its ninety-foot diameter dome and movable wood floor is breathtaking. While there, I picked up a reproduction postcard featuring a 1921 photo of the Yerkes’ telescope fronted by a group of staff and—could it be?—theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. The site was also frequented by Edwin Hubble and Carl Sagan. If you’re an amateur astronomer, your jaw is dropping right about now.
It broke my heart when the observatory closed but it is now undergoing extensive restoration to benefit future generations. You can capture an old-school tour of the site in this dated yet delightful presentation.
This blog is where I post my inspirations for each book in the Barrington Bay series as well as behind-the-scenes tips, pics, and other tidbits. Feel free to click 'Read More' for in-depth posts.