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Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory

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1885, Rotch and Tilden. Summit of Great Blue Hill.
  • Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory (Keith Morgan)

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.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory", [Milton, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 549-549.

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