The 1909 observatory first stood like a white marble temple of science on the ridge of College Hill, at a time when chapel walk was still a dirt path.
Its 9-inch refracting and two 8-inch reflecting telescopes are fitted for astrophotography. It also houses an astronomy library and dark rooms.
In 1909, Denison University Trustee Ambrose Swasey contributed the funding to build an observatory, which he also furnished with its original astronomical equipment. At that time, his firm, the Warner & Swasey Co. of Cleveland, had manufactured many of the world's finest and largest telescopes. Built of white Vermont marble, the interior was renovated and the outer dome replaced in 1970 and today's observatory houses a 9-inch refracting and two 8-inch reflecting telescopes, which are fitted for astrophotography. It also houses the astronomy library and dark rooms.