CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

A history of CSU's building and grounds from 1870 to the present.

Madison-Macdonald Observatory, 1966-

A large telescope with one person viewing through it and another person standing beside them.

Telescope at Madison-MacDonald Observatory, undated

From CSU's Sense of Place:  A Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University, by James E. Hansen, Gordon A. Hazard, and Linda M. Meyer.  Fort Collins, CO:  Colorado State University, 2018.

This facility was named for Professors M. Leslie Madison and Stewart Lincoln Macdonald who both were leaders in the teaching of astronomy at the college.  The simple 16’ x 16’ sliding-roofed observatory features a 16” reflecting telescope that was installed and became operational in mid-April 1966 at a cost of $6000.  The Cassegrain Telescope is on a motor driven equatorial mounting. This allows the telescope to stay focused on an object as the earth continues to rotate. The concrete block building cost $18,000 and was designed by Physical Plant Department staff members.  

Roger Culver was hired at that same time to begin teaching Astronomy courses beginning the fall quarter of 1966. On July 1, 1972, the State Board of Agriculture voted to name the facility the “Madison-Macdonald Observatory”.  On May 16, 1986, the facility was formally rededicated to honor the two professors. The Madison-Macdonald Observatory is open for public viewing and education once a week.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

The CSU Alumnus, September - October 1965, page 16, vol. 41, number 4.

Colorado State University Collegian, October 21, 1965, page 7, vol. LXXIV, number 29.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 25, 1966, page 554.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 2, 1966, page 16.

Colorado State University Collegian, April 13, 1966, page 1, vol. LXXIV, number 116.

CSU Collegian, May 9, 1969, pages 6 and 7, vol. LXXVII, number 100.

CSU Collegian, November 20, 1970, page 5, vol. LXXIX, number 43.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 1, 1972, page 19

“A History of Colorado State University 1870 – 1974”, by James E. Hansen II, 1974.

Fort Collins Journal, March 10, 1977, page 7, vol. LXXXV.

CSU Comments, July 22, 1982, page 6, vol. 13, number 1.

Colorado State University Comment, November 14, 1985, page 2, vol.16, number 13.

Colorado State University Comment, June 19, 1986, page 2, vol.16, number 32.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 23, 1992, pages 3 and 6, vol. 101, number 53.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, August 30, 1993, page 3, vol. 102, number 19.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 6, 1996, page 3, vol. 105, issue 75.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 5, 2004, page 6, vol. 113, number 31.

“Visionary Leadership, the Memoirs of William E. Morgan”, page 96, by Connie Pheiffenberger, 2005.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 27, 2005, page 7, vol. 114, number 35.

“Democracy’s University – A History of Colorado State University 1970 – 2003” by James E. Hansen II, 2007, p. 230.

CSU Architects Alpha List, March 17, 2015, by James E. Hansen II, unnamed CSU architects designed the building.


http://source.colostate.edu/night-skies-shine-bright-csu-observatory/, August 15, 2017, by Anne Manning.

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