The Griffith Observatory: A History

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The Griffith Observatory: A History
T Inv Icon PhysicsBook.png
value$ 5
item idDiary_CA6_GriffithHistory

The Griffith Observatory: A History is a book in Wasteland 2, found buried in Los Feliz.

Background[edit | edit source]

A paperback book describing the establishment and history of the Griffith Observatory.

Transcript[edit | edit source]

Part 1[edit | edit source]


Famed philanthropist Griffith J Griffith donated over three thousand acres of land to the City of Los Angeles in 1896. Previous to this, this land was part of a Spanish settlement known as Rancho Los Feliz, staying with the Feliz family for generations until Griffith purchased it. Griffith's intent was to give the great city of Los Angeles a great park, one that would provide rest, relaxation and diversion to the masses. The donation was accepted by the City, and named Griffith Park, in honor of the donor.

Griffith also donated one hundred thousand dollars to the City to build an observatory, exhibit hall and planetarium on the land. The objective was to make the observatory accessible to all, and free to the public. Griffith believed that looking at the skies would bestow an enlightened perspective to any man. The initial plans were laid in 1912, with Griffith's involvement, but became bogged down in political infighting. As Griffith's health began to falter in 1916, he left the project but bequeathed a sizeable amount of his wealth to the City in his will, earmarked for the construction of the Observatory as well as a Greek Theater.

The plan forged ahead after Griffith's death in 1919, and Architect John C Austin's designs went into construction on June 20 1933. A major earthquake hit Long Beach just as construction began in March 1933, leading to the decision to build a sturdier, yet still beautiful building. The project was finished two years later, the observatory and accompanying exhibits opening to the public on May 14, 1935, and saw more than thirteen thousand visitors in its first five days.

Among the original exhibits were a Foucault Pendulum, a 38-foot-diameter model of a section of the moon, a 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope as the public telescope, and a 75-foot-wide theater intended to hold the planetarium projector.

During the Second World War, Griffith Park was temporarily converted to a Japanese internment camp. Many of the employees of the Griffith Observatory were called into service in 1942, while the planetarium was used in training squadrons of naval aviators to navigate by stars. The Observatory would also go dark at night, for fear of its lighting being used to target the city.

In the 1960s the planetarium was renewed and repaired, and used in the training of astronauts in the Apollo Space Program on star identification and celestial navigation.

In the 1970s laser-light programs were a popular draw in the planetarium theater, set to either classical music or to rock artists such as Pink Floyd.

Later in the 1970s it became clear the Observatory was beginning to show signs of age, and plans and work have been ongoing ever since to repair and fortify the structure. The Observatory continues to be a popular attraction, and is looking at many more years of fulfilling Griffith's vision of entertaining and elucidating the masses.