SAO Shelter, Mt. Whitney, California, 1909, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, This negative number contains two photographs on it. The top is construction of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's shelter on Mount Whitney, California. Donkeys carrying people and supplies are in front of the house. The bottom of the photograph is the completed observing shelter as seen from a distance which shows it on top of a steep, sloping, and ragged rock mountain..