Best Old Planetarium

Baehr Observatory

Last summer's Hi Meadow fire in southwest Jefferson County came within feet of the historic Pine Valley Lodge, constructed in 1927 by Chicago businessman William Baehr. The Bavarian-style mansion -- which became known as the "Baehr-den of the Rockies" -- was built out of local granite and white pine timbers in just ninety days. But the speed of its construction wasn't the only remarkable aspect of the project; Baehr also ordered up a pagoda, ice shed, water wheel, tea house and observatory -- complete with a six-inch telescope, one of the largest of its day. Today that telescope is still in use, with star-gazing programs scheduled through the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

 
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