SAO Shelter Atop Mount Whitney

ID: SIA2008-3165

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1909

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for the Year 1909

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The new Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory shelter for observers atop Mount Whitney, California, 14,502 above sea level. Several people can be seen beside the shelter and on the rocky outcropping.


  • Abbot, C. G (Charles Greeley) b. 1872
  • Langley, S. P (Samuel Pierpont) 1834-1906
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Hodgkins Fund and Medal


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


From Plate 5, Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for the Year 1909, opposite p.66. In 1909, using a grant from the Thomas George Hodgkins Fund, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory erected a shelter atop Mount Whitney, California, for astrophysical researchers. Smithsonian Secretary Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906) had been at the site in 1881 and deemed it the best location in the country for meteorological and atmospheric observations. SAO Director (1906-1918) Charles Greeley Abbot, later 5th Secretary of the Smithsonian from 1928-1944, began observations at the site in 1909 and secured the construction of the stone building. Abbot worked with W. W. Campbell, director of the Lick Observatory, in completing the field station. Lick Observatory is part of the University of California Observatories of the University of California on Mt. Hamilton, CA.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for the Year 1909

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,



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  • Mountains
  • Observatories
  • Landscapes
  • Astrophysics
  • Architecture
  • Atmosphere
  • Observing stations
  • Mt. Whitney, California
  • Observing (field) stations
  • Astronomy
  • Meteorology
  • Buildings
  • Atmosphere--Research


  • Whitney, Mount (Calif.)
  • California


  • Photographic print
  • Landscape

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 8 1/2w x 5 1/4h; Type of Image: Landscape; Medium: Photographic print

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