History of Santa Clara County
History of the Lick Observatory on the Summit of Mt. Hamilton--The Eccentricities of James Lick, the Philanthropist--What He Did for San Jose.
The greatest work of man in Santa Clara County and San Jose's greatest asset is the Lick Observatory on the summit of Mt. Hamilton, which is provided with the best and most complete astronomical appliances in the world. The distance from San Jose to the summit of the mountain is twenty-seven miles, but in an air line it is much shorter, so that if one stands in the streets of the city and looks at the Coast Range mountains he will see, a little south of east, the great white dome glittering in the sunshine and looking benignly on the valley. The drive to the summit is entrancing. The visitor motors out on Santa Clara Street and across Coyote Creek enters Alum Rock Avenue, a continuation of Santa Clara Street, and the broad, fine highway to the baths, mineral springs and scenic beauties of the City Reservation. A little over three miles from San Jose the visitor turns to the right and begins to ascend the first ridge of mountains. The road is winding, but broad and safe, and the grade is easy. The beautiful valley, with San Jose in the center, spreads out before him.
He passes over this ridge and plunges into Hall's Valley; crossing which, with its lovely homes and ranches, he begins to ascend another ridge. This is soon crossed and the visitor descends again into a little valley through which runs Smith Creek, a favorite trout stream. Here he finds a large hotel and garage, and before him looms Mt. Hamilton, seven miles up the hill. The beautiful scenery of the Coast Range is seen as the last climb up is made. The road winds in and out through shady nooks, around bold promontories and up and up, often doubling upon itself, while the higher one climbs, the grander the majestic panorama of mountains and valleys that spreads out on every hand, and soon the great valley of Santa Clara, with San Jose but a shady spot, peeps over the two intervening ridges. The crookedness of the road may be imagined from the fact that there are 365 turns between the base at Smith Creek and the observatory on the summit.
The Lick Observatory was the donation to the University of California by James Lick, who became immensely wealthy through mining and real estate ventures. The prominence which he achieved by his princely gift to science caused people from all over the county to recall incidents of his life, and these have been gathered and woven into a connected narrative, which is herewith presented.
James Lick was born in Fredericksburg, Pa.. August 25, 1796. His ancestors were of German extraction and spelled the family name "Lük." His grandfather had come to America early in the century and had served in the army of Washington during the Revolutionary War. Nothing is known of the life of James Lick until he arrived at the age of twenty-seven and entered himself as an apprentice to an organ maker at Hanover, Pa. He worked here for a short time and in 1819 took a position in the employ of Joseph Hiskey, a prominent piano manufacturer of Baltimore, Md. An incident of his experience there has been recalled.
One day a penniless youth named Conrad Meyer applied at the factory for employment. He attracted the fancy of James Lick, who took the stranger in charge, provided him with food and proper clothing and secured for him a place in the establishment. The friendship thus formed lasted through life. In 1854 the pianos of Conrad Mever took first prize in the London International Exhibition, their maker possessing an immense factory in Philadelphia and ranking as one of the most eminent piano makers in the United States.
In 1820 James Lick left the employ of Hiskey and went to New York, expecting to start in business on his own account. This venture was restricted by his lack of capital, and, if attempted at all, was brief, for in the following year he left the United States for Buenos Ayres, South America, with the intention of devoting himself there to his trade. He found the Buenos Ayreans of that period a singularly handsome and refined race of almost purely Spanish extraction, and attaining by their mode of life in that fine climate a remarkable physical development. By careful attention to business he prospered among them, accumulating a competence during the first ten years of his stay. "In 1832," writes his friend, Conrad Meyer, in the Philadelphia Bulletin, "I was in business on Fifth Street, when I was suddenly surprised one day at seeing James Lick walk in. He had just arrived from South America and had brought with him hides and nutria skins to the amount of $40,000, which he was then disposing of. Nutria skins are obtained from a species of otter found along the River La Plata. He said that he intended settling in Philadelphia, but in a few days left for New York, and from there sailed to Buenos Ayres. There he filled several piano orders, settled his affairs and sailed for Valparaiso, Chile, where for four years he pursued his vocation. His next venture was in Callao, Peru, where he lived for eleven years, occupying himself in manufacturing pianos and making occasional investments in commercial enterprises. That he was successful is shown in the statement made by himself that in 1845 he was worth $59,000. Resolving to try California, he sold his stock for $30,000. This money, which was in Spanish doubloons, he secured in a large iron safe which he brought with him to California. Among the odd articles which James Lick brought from Peru was the work-bench he had used in his trade. It was not an elaborate affair and the object of its deportation to California, the land of timber, hardly appears, unless he had acquired an affection for this companion of his daily labors. He retained this bench through all his California experiences."
Mr. Lick arrived in San Francisco late in 1847. At that time there was little to indicate the future prosperity of the Pacific Coast. California Street was its southern boundary, while Sansome Street was on the water front. Sand dunes stretched out to the horizon on the south and east, an occasional shanty breaking the monotony of the landscape. Mr. Lick quietly invested money in these sand hills, paying dollars for lots that were not considered by the inhabitants to be worth cents. He came to Santa Clara County at an early day and purchased the property north of San Jose, on the Guadalupe, which was afterwards known as the Lick's Mills property. He also bought the tract of land just inside the present southern city limits which was afterwards named the Lick Homestead. All these lands were then vacant and unimproved.
During seven years after his arrival in California Mr. Lick did no business other than the investment of his money. The first improvement of his property was made on the Lick Mill Tract. An old flour mill had stood upon the property when he bought it in 1852, and this fact may have influenced him in his decision to build his own mill on the site of the old one. In 1853 he began to lay plans and gather material for the construction. In 1855 the work started and to those who saw the structure rise, it was the wonder of the time. The wood composing the interior finish was of the finest mahogany, finished and inlaid in the most elegant and expensive style. The machinery imported for the works was of a quality never before sent out to the Pacific Coast. The entire cost of the mill was $200,000. When put in operation it turned out the finest brand of flour in the state.
There is a romantic legend preserved in the memory of the old acquaintances of James Lick which explains the origin of this mill. The tale runs that when Lick was a boy he was apprenticed to a miller, who, besides being possessed of a competency and a flourishing business, had also an exceedingly pretty daughter. Strange as the assertion may seem to those who were acquainted only with the unlovely old age of this strange character, James Lick was a comely young man, and upon him the miller's daughter cast approving eyes. Lick met her more than half way and a warm attachment sprang up between the apprentice and the heiress. The old miller, however, soon saw the drift of matters and interposed his parental authority to break the course of true love. Young Lick declared he loved the girl and wished to marry her. Thereupon the miller became indignant and, pointing to his mill, exclaimed: "Out, you beggar! Dare you cast your eyes upon my daughter, who will inherit my riches? Have you a mill like this? Have you a single penny in your purse?" To this tirade Lick replied that he had nothing as yet, but one day he would have a mill beside which this one would be a pigsty.
Lick at once departed and after a time drifted to California, seeking the fortune he determined to possess, a determination that never afterwards for a moment left him. Nor did he forget his last words to the miller. When he was a rich man he built this mill, and when he had finished there had been nothing left undone which could have added to the perfection of its appointments. Its machinery was perfect and its walls, floors and ceilings were of costly woods. Not being able to bring the miller to view the realization of his boyish declaration, Lick had the mill photographed within and without, and although his sweetheart had long since been married, he sent her father the pictures and recalled to him the day he boasted of his Pennsylvania mill.
Although the mahogany mill gratified Lick's pride in its construction and in the brand of his product, it was not a financial success. The periodical floods of the Guadalupe River inundated the land about it, destroyed his orchards and roads and interfered with the operation of the mill.
In the year 1873 he surprised everbody by the gift cf the whole property to the Thomas Paine Memorial Association of Boston. For some years he had been a close student and great admirer of the writings of Paine, and he took this means of proving the faith that was in him. On January 16, 1873, he made a formal transfer of the property to certain named trustees of the association, imposing upon them the trust to sell the property and donate one-half of the proceeds to the building of a memorial hall in Boston, and so invest the other half that a lecture course could be maintained out of the income. The association sent an agent to California to look over the acquisition, with power to deal with it. Without consulting Mr. Lick, the agent sold the property for about $18,000, at which proceeding the donor was so disgusted that he lost all interest in the advancement of the theories of the famous infidel.
The next scheme of improvement to which Lick turned his attention was the erection of the Lick Hotel in San Francisco. He had bought the property for an ounce of gold dust soon after his arrival in California, and until 1861 it had lain idle and unimproved. The lot originally extended the entire length of the block on Montgomery Street from Sutter to Post, and the hotel would have covered this space had not Lick sold the Post Street corner to the Masons. At the time of its construction the hotel was the finest on the Pacific Coast. Its interior finish was, in the main, designed by Lick himself, who took special pride in the selection of fine materials and in their combination in artistic and effective forms. The dining room floor was a marvel of beautiful woodwork, made out of many thousand pieces and all polished like a table.
That part of the history of James Lick which lies between the years 1861 and 1873 is full of interest to those who desire to form a correct estimate of the man. The course of affairs had amply justified his early judgment of the future values of California real estate. His sand-hill lots, bought for a song in 1848, grew to be golden islands of wealth in the rising streams of California trade. The investments in Santa Clara County all yielded rich returns. By the very bulldog tenacity with which he hung to his transactions, he became during the '60s one of the wealthiest men on the Pacific Coast. His reputation, too, was state-wide, made so not only by his wealth but also by the rumor of his eccentricities.
It is very probable that the advancing age of James Lick acted upon his nature in developing into active eccentricities the natural peculiarities of his disposition. Most of the pioneers who remember him during the first decade of his California career, describe him as a close, careful, self-contained man, cold and somewhat crabbed of disposition, going his own lonely way in business and in life. Those who knew him between 1861 and 1873 intensify these characteristics and declare him to have been miserly, irascible, selfish, solitary; one who cherished little affection for his race or kin, and whose chief delight appeared to lie in the indulgence of the whims of a thorny and unfragrant old age. Others who knew him say that beneath the ice of his outward nature flowed the warm currents of a philanthropic heart.
The stories of Lick's eccentric career are numerous and amusing. Most of his time after the completion of his hotel was spent in and about San Jose. At first he lived upon his mill property, and upon it he began early to set out trees of various kinds, both for fruit and ornament. He held some curious theories about tree-planting and believed in the efficacy of a bone deposit about the roots of every young tree. Many are the yarns told by old residents about his action. It was a frequent sight to see him going along the highway in an old rattle-trap, rope-tied wagon, with a bearskin robe for a seat cushion, stopping every now and then to gather in the bones of some dead animal. There is a story extant, and probably well founded, which illustrates the odd means he employed to secure hired help at once trustworthy and obedient. One day while he was planting his orchard a man applied to him for work. Lick directed him to take the trees he indicated to a certain part of the grounds and there to plant them with the tops in the soil and the roots in the air. The man obeyed the directions to the letter and reported in the evening for further orders. Lick went out, viewed the work with apparent satisfaction, and then ordered the man to plant the trees the proper way, and thereafter to continue in his employ.
Another story, similar to this, is handed down and is entirely authentic. Lick at one time was the owner of what is now the Knox block, on the northwest corner of First and Santa Clara streets. A fire having destroyed the buildings, much debris of burnt and broken brick was scattered about the lot. One day while Lick was viewing the ruins a young man applied to him for work and was instructed to collect a certain quantity of bricks and pile them neatly in a corner. This he did, and on reporting was told to take the same bricks back and pile them neatly in another corner. Without protest the young man executed this singular order, and was at once regularly employed.
When Lick found that the floods interfered with the improvement of his mill property, he transferred his operations to the tract of land south of San Jose, for a long time known as the Lick Homestead Addition. Presently the residents of San Jose witnessed a strange spectacle. Day after day long trains of carts and wagons passed slowly through the city, carrying tall trees and full-grown shrubbery from the old to the new location. Winter and summer alike the work went on, the old man superintending it all in his old rattle-trap wagon and bearskin robe. He imported from Australia some rare trees and had brought with them whole shiploads of their native earth. Once he conceived the idea of building conservatories superior to any on the Coast, and for that purpose he had imported from England the materials for two large conservatories after the model of those in Kew Gardens, London. His death occurred before he could have these constructed and they remained on the hands of his trustees until a body of San Francisco gentlemen contributed funds for their purchase and donation to the use of the public in Golden Gate Park, where in full construction they now stand, to the wonder and delight of all who visit this beautiful resort.
It was in the year 1873, when James Lick was seventy-seven years old, that he began to make those donations of the then vast estate which he possessed. For many years preceding the bequest he had been a wide reader. He studied everything written by and of Thomas Paine and made his own works conform to Paine's opinions. It is related that while he was engaged in the improvement of the Lick Homestead property he became involved in an argument with the late Adolph Pfister, who served several terms as mayor of the city, over some religious subject, when Pfister suggested that Lick put to practical proof the merits of Paineism as contrasted with other moral agencies, by the erection of a grand college on his property for the education of young men in the Paine doctrine. Lick was impressed with the idea and it is not improbable that it found form in the gift of the mill property to the Paine Association of Boston.
On February 15, 1873, Lick executed two gift deeds, one to the California Academy of Science, the other to the Society of California Pioneers. To the first named he granted a lot of forty feet frontage on Market Street, near Fourth, San Francisco, and to the last named a lot of like dimensions on Fourth Street near Market. These gifts he clogged with certain conditions which were deemed irksome by the trustees. The matter was at issue when Lick died, but after his death a compromise satisfactory to the donees was effected.
The trust deed by which Lick gave all his remaining property to charitable and educational objects was dated June 2, 1874. Among the provisions of this instrument was one giving to San Jose $25,000 for the purpose of establishing an orphan asylum, and another appropriating $700,000 for establishing an observatory on land belonging to Lick, near Lake Tahoe. An investigation of the appropriateness of the site was at once set on foot. It was soon ascertained that the severity of the climate in winter about the chosen location would seriously interfere with the effective operations of the telescopes and with the comfort of the visiting public. Lick then determined to make a change of site and looked favorably toward Mt. St. Helena, in Napa County. He visited St. Helena and ascended part way to its summit, but before he had pursued his investigations far enough to reach a conclusion his mind was directed to Santa Clara County.
Although out of the large amount of property distributed by Lick, San Jose received but $25,000, the people of the city were very grateful and acknowledged their gratitude in a well-worded series of resolutions prepared by Judge Belden and adopted by the mayor and common council. The resolutions were beautifully engraved and officially transmitted to Mr. Lick in San Francisco. Other recipients of the millionaire's benefactions had either responded coldly or had made no response at all. Therefore the action of San Jose greatly pleased Lick and caused him to think that he had not done as much as he should for the county that had long been his home. The esolutions reached him at a time when he was in doubt as to the location of the observatory, and he consulted his confidential agent, Thomas E. Fraser, as to the availability of the mountain summits east and west of San Jose. Fraser referred Lick to Mt. Hamilton and was instructed to ascend the mountain's top and make thorough investigations. In August, 1875, Fraser, accompanied by Mayor B. D. Murphy, went to the summit, found it free from fog, equable of climate and generally suitable for the observatory's location. Mr. Lick then addressed a communication to the board of supervisors offering to locate the observatory on Mt. Hamilton if the county would construct a road to the summit. The facts concerning the building of the road will be found in the chapter on County Government and Good Roads.
In the meantime, Lick had found that his deed of trust did not express his intentions; that a strict construction of its terms would postpone the carrying into effect of his benefactions until after his death. He wanted the work to be pushed forward during his lifetime. After duly considering these matters, he addressed a communication to his trustees. setting forth his conclusions and intentions, revoking the deed and asking them to resign. The trustees consulted a lawyer and upon his advice declined to resign, for the alleged reason that they had already converted about a million dollars of the real estate into money and could not be relieved from responsibility by the dictum of Mr. Lick. This brought ahout a controversy with the trustees which at first threatened disaster to the beneficiaries. John B. Felton was Lick's attorney, and instead of precipitating his client into a lawsuit he used the columns of the newspapers so vigorously that the trustees became disgusted and made up an agreed case by which the courts relieved them of responsibility and annulled the deed.
On September 21, 1875. a new and final deed was executed, with Richard S. Floyd, Bernard D. Murphy, Foxan D. Atherton, John H. Lick and John Nightingale as trustees. The clause in the deed in reference to the observatory is as follows:
"Third--To expend the sum of seven hundred thousand dollars ($700,000) for the purpose of purchasing land and constructing and putting upon such land as shall be designated by the party of the first part, a powerful telescope, superior to and more powerful than any telescope yet made, with all the machinery appertaining thereto and appropriately connected therewith, or that is necessary and convenient to the most powerful telescope now in use, or suited to one more powerful than any yet constructed; and also a suitable observatory connected therewith. The parties of the second part hereto, and their successors shall, as soon as said telescope and observatory are constructed, convey the land whereupon the same may be situated, and the telescope and observatory and all the machinery and apparatus connected therewith to the corporation known as 'The Regents of the University of California"; and if, after the construction of said telescope and observatory, there shall remain of said seven hundred thousand dollars in gold coin any surplus, the said parties of the second part shall turn over such surplus to said corporation, to be invested by it in bonds of the United States, or of the city and county of San Francisco, or other good and safe interest-bearing bonds, and the income thereof shall be devoted to the maintenance of said telescope and the observatory connected therewith, and shall be made useful in promoting science; and the said telescope and observatory are to be known as 'The Lick Astronomical Department of the University of California.'"
In making the new deed Lick selected Mt. Hamilton as the site for the observatory, and the trustees, acting with the Regents of the State University, secured an Act of Congress setting apart the public land at the summit for this purpose. This tract contains 500 acres and is so situated as to prevent settlement in the immediate vicinity of the observatory, or the inauguration of any enterprise in that neighborhood that would be inimical to the interests of the institution.
John B. Felton charged $100,000 for his legal services in annulling the first deed, and presented the bill to the new trustees. They refused to allow the claim until Lick would sign a written authorization. Felton and Trustee Murphy called on Lick and asked him to sign. "Mr. Felton," said the old philanthropist, "when we made a contract on which that claim is based, we supposed that to cancel my first trust deed would be an arduous matter, involving much expense, a long delay and years of the most elaborate and expensive litigation. The whole entanglement, however, was adjusted in a few months without any difficulty, with little outlay and with only a formal litigation. I think, under the changed circumstances, you ought to diminish the amount of your fee."
"Your proposition, Mr. Lick," replied Felton, "reminds me of a story I once heard about a countryman who had a bad toothache and went to a rustic dentist to have the offender extracted. The dentist produced a rusty set of instruments, seated the patient in a rickety chair and went at work. After some hours of hard labor for himself, and the most extreme agony to the countryman, the tooth was extracted and the dentist charged a dollar for his work. A few months later the countryman had another attack of toothache and this time thought best to procure a metropolitan dentist. He went to the city, found the best dentist in it and offered his swollen jaw for operation. The expert dentist passed his hand soothingly over the man's face, located the tooth with painless delicacy, produced a splendid set of instruments, and before the countryman knew it, had the tooth out. His charge was five dollars. 'Five dollars!' exclaimed the countryman. 'When Jones, down at the village, pulled my last tooth it took three hours, during which time he broke his chair, broke my jaw, broke his tools and mopped the whole floor with me several times, and he charged me only a dollar. You ought to diminish your bill.'" Lick saw the point, signed the authorization and Felton got his money.
In 1876 Lick had trouble with his trustees. One of the duties Lick wished first performed was the erection of his family monument in Fredericksburg, Pa. During the arrangement for this work the causes for the retirement of the second board of trustees arose. One of the members of the board was John H. Lick. Although James Lick had never been married, John H. was his son. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1818, about the time James Lick made a hurried departure to New York, thence to South America. Some years after Lick came to California he sent for his son, then grown to manhood, and kept him for several years at work in the mahogany mill. Here John H. remained until August, 1871, when he returned to his Pennsylvania home. When James Lick made his first deed of trust he directed the payment to his son of $3,000. With this pittance John H. was naturally dissatisfied, and therefore in the second deed he was given the sum of $150,000 and made one of the trustees. To him, as trustee, was delegated the power to contract for the Fredericksburg monument, but for some reason he failed or refused to sign the contract. When this fact was made known to James Lick he became very much incensed against his son, and in the weakness of old age he included the whole board in his ill-humor and suddenly demanded the resignation of the whole body. The trustees were acquiescent and a new board was appointed. Captain Floyd, having been in Europe during this last trouble, was not included in the old man's wrath, and therefore was made a member of the new board.
James Lick died October 1, 1876, before the new board had fully organized. He was eighty years of age. His body lay in state in Pioneer Hall, San Francisco, and was followed by an immense concourse to Lone Mountain Cemetery, there to rest until a more fitting burial place might be ready for its reception. Some months before his death, in a conversation with the late B. D. Murphy of San Jose, Lick, expressed the desire to be buried on Mt. Hamilton, either within or at one side of the proposed observatory, after the manner of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral, who was buried in the crypt in 1723.
Immediately after the death of his father, John H. Lick returned from the East and secured letters of administration upon the estate. This was understood to be the beginning of an attempt to annul the trust deed. After testing several points in the courts, the trustees finally effected a compromise by which they were to pay John H. Lick $535,000 in full of all claims against the estate. The Society of Pioneers and the Academy of Science had been made residuary legatees by the deed and their trustees insisted that this payment to John H. Lick should be made pro rata from each of the bequests. After nearly a year of litigation the courts decided that the special bequests could not be disturbed and that the compromise money must come from the shares of the residuary legatees.
As soon as possible after the completion of the road to the summit, work on the buildings was commenced. Early in 1887 the work had progressed sufficiently to permit the request of James Lick in regard to a burial place to be complied with, and on the ninth of January the body was brought to San Jose, whence, followed by a procession of officials and citizens, it was conveyed to the mountain. A tomb had been prepared in the foundation of the pier which was to support the great telescope, and in this, with imposing ceremonies, the coffin was deposited. The following docuinent, signed by the trustees and representatives of the State University, Academy of Science, and Pioneers, and the Mayor of San Jose, was sealed up with the casket:
"This is the body of James Lick, who was born in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania, August 25, 1796, and who died in San Francisco, California, October l, 1876.
"It has been identified by us, and in our presence has been sealed up and deposited in this foundation pier of the great equatorial telescope, this ninth of January, 1887.
"In the year 1875 he executed a deed of trust of his entire estate, by which he provided for the comfort and culture of the citizens of California; for the advancement of handcraft and redecraft among the youth of San Francisco and of the state; for the development of scientific research and the diffusion of knowledge among men, and for founding in the State of California an astronomical observatory, to surpass all others existing in the world at this epoch.
"This observatory has been erected by the trustees of his estate and has been named The Lick Astronomical Department of the University of California in memory of the founder. The refracting telescope is the largest which has ever been constructed, and the astronomers who have tested it declare that its performance surpasses that of all other telescopes.
"The two disks, of glass for the objective were cast by M. Feil, of France, and were brought to a true figure by Alvan Clark & Sons, of Massachusetts. Their diameter is thirty-six inches and their focal length is fifty-six feet, two inches. Upon the completion of this structure the Regents of the University of California became the trustees of this Astronomical Observatory."
The members of the third board of trustees were Richard S. Floyd, president; William Sherman, vice-president; E. B. Mastick, treasurer; Charles M. Plum, George Schoenwald.
The contract for the great lens was made with Alvan Clark & Sons, of Cambridge, Mass. In 1882 the flint glass was cast by M. Feil & Sons, of Paris, but it was not until 1885 that a perfect crown glass could be obtained. The Clarks succeeded in obtaining a true figure in 1886, and on the 27th of December of that year the great glass reached Mt. Hamilton. The mounting of the instrument and other details of construction occupied eighteen months more time, and in June, 1888, the whole work was completed. The transfer of the observatory from the trustees to the regents of the university took place on June 1, 1888, being fourteen years from the date of James Lick's first deed. The total expense of construction was $610,000. A balance of $90,000 remained as the nucleus of an endowment fund. Profs. Simon Newcomb and Edward S. Holden were the scientific advisers of the three boards. In 1885 Professor Holden was appointed president of the University of California and director of the Lick Observatory on the understanding that he would fill the former office until the completion of the observatory and thereafter the latter office.
The observatory consists of a main building containing offices, computing rooms, library (of 8,000 books and 5,000 namphlets), and the domes of the thirty-six-inch equatorial and the twelve-inch equatorial telescopes; of detached buildings to shelter the Crossley reflector, the meridian circle, and other instruments, and to provide safe deposit rooms and photographic dark rooms; of instrument shops; of dwelling houses; and of other buildings, reservoirs, pumping stations, etc.
The principal equipment provided by the Lick trustees consisted of: A 36-inch equatorial refractor, objective by Alvan Clark Sons, mounting by Warner & Swasey. This instrument has also a photographic correcting lens of thirty-three inches aperture, figured by Alvan G. Clark. By placing the latter lens in front of the 36-inch objective, the telescope becomes a photographic instrument. A 12-inch equatorial refractor, objective and mounting by Alvan Clark & Sons, A 6 1/2-inch meridian circle instrument, objective by Alvan Clark & Sons, mounting by Repsold. Many smaller telescopes and other pieces of auxiliary apparatus.
Other important instruments were presented to the Lick Observatory in later years, as follows: A 36 1/4-inch reflecting telescope, presented to the Lick Observatory in 1895 by Edward Crossley, Esq., of Halifax, England. The mirror was constructed by Sir Howard Grubb, and the mounting by Dr. A. A. Common. The cost of a building to receive this instrument and the expense of transporting the instrument and iron dome from England were met by subscriptions from prominent citizens of California. A 6 1/2-inch comet-seeker, objective by John A. Brashear, the gift of Miss Catharine Bruce. A 6-inch photographic telescope, with objective by Willard and mounting by John A. Brashear, all the gift of Regent Charles F. Crocker. A 5-inch telescope, with interchangeable photographic and visual objective, by Alvan Clark & Sons, the gift of Miss Floyd, daughter of Captain Floyd. The Mills three-prism spectrograph, the gift of D. O. Mills. Delicate seismographs, the gift of William Randolph Hearst.
In order that the program of determining the radial velocities of the brighter stars might be extended over the entire sky, D. O. Mills provided funds in the year 1900 for a well-equipped expedition to the southern hemisphere. The equipment included a 37 1/4-inch Cassegrain reflecting telescope, with modern dome; a three-prism spectrograph; a two-prism spectrograph; a one-prism spectrograph, an instrument shop, and other accessories. The D. O. Mills Observatory, administered by the Director of the Lick Observatory, is located on the summit of Cerro San Cristobal, at an altitude of about 2900 feet above sea-level, in the northeasterly suburbs of Santiago, Chile. This important observatory was supported by Mills until his death in 1910, and the support has been continued by his son, Ogden Mills.
Many auxiliary instruments, such as spectrographs, seismographs, clocks, chronographs, photometers, etc., have been purchased from time to time.
The magnifying power of the great telescope may be changed front about 270 to 3,000 by changing the eyepieces, in very much the same way that the magnifying power of a microscope may be changed. The power employed depends upon the object under observation and upon the state of the atmosphere.
The height of the marble floor of the main building above mean sea-level is 4209 feet. On a closely connected peak half a mile to the east of the observatory, and fifty feet higher, are the reservoirs from which water for household and photographic purposes is distributed. Springs on the north and south slopes of the mountain, about a mile east of the Observatory and about 350 feet and 630 feet, respectively, below it, supply excellent water. Another peak seven-eighths of a mile to the east is the summit of Mount Hamilton; it is 180 feet higher than the Observatory, and supports the reservoirs supplying power for raising the movable floor in the dome of the great telescope. This system receives its supply, from the winter rains falling on the roofs, the water being pumped to the reservoirs on the higher peak. The movable floor in the dome was the first of the kind to be constructed. It is 60 feet in diameter, and can be raised or lowered through a distance of 16 1/2 feet, its purpose being to bring the observer within convenient reach of the eye end of the telescope.
The Observatory is open to daytime visitors every day of the year, but visitors are expected to leave the premises at or before sunset. The Observatory is open every Saturday evening to visitors who arrive before 9 p. m., opportunity being afforded on clear nights to look through the 36-inch refractor and the 12-inch refractor usually.
Visitors who come in the daytime are usually conducted through the building and have the uses of the instruments explained to them. On Saturday evenings the scientific staff is on public duty. The annual number of visitors to the Observatory exceeds five thousand. While the Observatory has no financial interest in the coming of visitors, yet no pains are spared to make the time spent here interesting and profitable to them. There are no hotel accommodations at the summit.
The average population of Mount Hamilton during the past five years has been fifty. There is a public school on the mountain: the schoolhouse is the property of the Observatory; the teacher is supplied by Santa Clara County.
The directors of the Lick Observatory have been: Edward Singleton Holden, June 1, 1888, to December 31, 1897; James Edward Keeler, June 1, 1898 to August 12, 1900: William Wallace Campbell, January 1, 1901 to --. Other astronomers on the staff have been: S. W. Burnham, 1888-1892; J. M. Schaeberle, 1888-1898; J. E. Keeler, 1888-1891; E. E. Barnard, 1888-1895; W. W. Campbell, 1891-; Henry Crew, 1891-1892; R. H. Tucker, 1893-; C. D. Perrine, 1893-1909; R. G. Aitken, 1895-; W. J. Hussey, 1896-1905; W. H. Wright, 1897-; H. D. Curtis, 1902- The list of assistant astronomers includes the names of A. L. Colton, J. H. Moore, Sebastian Albrecht, R. E. Wilson, R. F. Sanford.
Members of the staff have been detailed to take charge of the D. O. Mills Observatory in Chile, as follows: W. H. Wright, 1903-1906; H. D. Curtis, 1906-1909; J. H. Moore, 1909-1913; R. E. Wilson. 1913-.
The scientific staff has averaged: at Mount Hamilton, five astronomers, one assistant astronomer and two assistants; and in Chile, on the D. O. Mills foundation, one astronomer and two assistants.
The Regents maintain three salaried University fellowships in the Lick Observatory, which are open to well-prepared graduate students who have decided to make astronomy or some of the closely related sciences the basis of professional careers.
The Martin Kellogg Fellowship in the Lick Observatory, endowed by Mrs. Louise W. B. Kellogg, widow of President Martin Kellogg, provides opportunity to one holder each year for advanced study and research under liberal conditions.
The efficiency of the Lick Observatory has been greatly increased by generous gifts of funds for special purposes from Regent Phoebe A. Hearst, Regent Charles F. Crocker, Regent William H. Crocker, D. O. Mills, Ogden Mills, and others; and by grants of funds from the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The investigational work of the Observatory has been exceedingly fruitful. The great telescope has surpassed the expectations of those who planned it; and its energetic use throughout the whole of every good night in the quarter century of its existence has enriched astronomical science in unexpected ways.
The leading discoveries that have been made embrace the following: Four satellites of Jupiter; twenty-nine comets; about 4400 double star systems; 250 spectroscopic binary stars; a companion sun to the first magnitude star, Procyon; spectrographic observations showing that the sun with its system of planets is traveling through space, with reference to the general stellar system, at a speed of about twelve miles an hour; that the velocity of the stars increase with their effective ages; that the planetary nebulae are traveling through space with average speeds even higher than the average speeds of the stars; the North Pole Star found to be a triple star in 1899; an extensive series of photographs of the minor planet, Eros, and surrounding stars, with the Crossley Reflector, led to a new and accurate determination of the distance front the earth to the sun.
The following total solar eclipses have been successfully observed by expeditions whose expenses were defrayed by the friends whose names are recorded: 1889, January, in northern California, by the University of California. 1889, December, in French Guiana, by Regent Charles F. Crocker. 1893, in Chile, by Regent Phoebe A. Hearst. 1898, in India, by Regent Charles F. Crocker. 1900, in Georgia, by William H. Crocker. 1901, in Sumatra, by William H. Crocker. 1905, in Spain and Egypt, by William H. Crocker. 1908, in Flint Island, South Pacific Ocean, by Regent William H. Crocker.
In the early days of Santa Clara County Mt. Hamilton
was called La Sierra de Santa Ysabel. The name Ysabel applies now to the
creek that rises to the east of Mt. Hamilton and that passes along its
northern and western base and then makes its way northward to the Bay of
San Francisco. At the confluence with Smith Creek, Ysabel Creek changes
its name to Arroyo Honda and still further north Arroyo Honda becomes Calaveras
Creek. The valley through which Ysabel Creek flows, lying east of Mt. Hamilton,
is called Ysabel Valley. The mountain was known as Santa Ysabel down to
1861 or 1862 when Rev. Leander Hamilton, an able and eloquent Presbyterian
preacher, climbed the mountain as a member of a camping party. The striking
beauty of the scenery inspired his ready pen and he wrote a number of articles
describing the mountain and its surroundings which after publication were
extensively quoted. The camping party, of which he had been a member, out
of compliment to him renamed the mountain Mt. Hamilton and it soon became
the popular name. Later, the United States Government surveyors put down
the official name as Mt. Hamilton and at once the name Ysabel became but