Founded on the 635-foot summit of Great Blue Hill by Harvard University's first professor of meteorology, Abbott Lawrence Rotch, and partly designed by his brother Arthur, the original 1885 structure consisted of a two-story circular stone tower and an attached single-story residence constructed of stone found at the site. Four years later a two-story library and shop were added; a similar structure of concrete replaced the stone tower in 1908. The observatory is noted for maintaining a long climatological record and for pioneering the use of balloons and kites to carry weather-recording instruments. Wind velocities, air temperature, and relative humidity at various levels became vital elements to weather prediction due to techniques developed at the site. Located within the seven-thousand-acre Blue Hills Reservation, the observatory stands near a massive stone observation tower (NR) named for Charles Eliot, a founder of the Boston Metropolitan Parks System, in 1893. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the Eliot Tower in the 1930s, providing commanding views of Boston's skyline and harbor.
You are here
Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.