Letters to the Editor

As a former long-time resident of the Village of Williams Bay since the day of my birth, as was my father, who was a photographer for the historically significant Yerkes Observatory I am simply stunned and amazed the village leadership continues to ignore the very existence of this, not national, but worldwide iconic facility. Most communities would have stood to applaud the gift of this wonderful edifice to local non-profit operation and then dug in to really raise money and plan vigorous action to repurpose the Yerkes Observatory land and facility. This observatory, located in such a small rural community, has a scientific place in history that is greater than the Eiffel Tower, the Seattle Space Needle, and Greek Parthenon combined. That many of the mysteries of outer space were first discovered and then detailed at this facility, within the confines of the wonder of its architectural structure should be celebrated and remembered with a “Yerkes Day,” every year in every community around Geneva Lake.

Here is what needs to be done to save the Yerkes and honor such figures as Albert Einstein (who did research work there) and (Edwin Hubble, of the Hubble Telescope fame) and, of course still the largest refracting telescope ever made. How can this iconic structure, along with its history, achievements and giant scientists who worked there be allowed to fall into disuse and be surrounded by income-producing or other private structures of no merit is beyond belief? I am an architect, and I am one of national and international distinction, and I must tell you as a professional and participant in the planning, creation, and building of many other great structures around the world, that what is happening (nothing!) at the Yerkes, and what is being considered around it (residential development) is not criminal, if approved by the city, but it sure as hell is a distasteful black eye into the future, probably best defining the entire area by the single word: “rural,” and well-deserving of that moniker.

Tom Kincaid, American Institute of Architects, National Council of Architectural Registration Board, International Certification of Licensed Builder of Concrete Monolithic Domes, Holder of Nearly Countless Architecture Certificates, and awards. Resident of Town of Linn.

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