The Elgin School District U-46 Planetarium at 312 Watch St. opened its doors in September 1963 for students to learn about astronomy under the dome. It was built to serve the burgeoning U-46 population during the space race that eventually landed us on the Moon. It is an addition to the back of the original part of the building, the 1909 Elgin National Watch Company Observatory. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Many developed a lifelong interest in astronomy (and some careers in the field) that can be traced back to the U-46 planetarium. Since 1963 more than 1 million students have been mesmerized by the majesty of the night sky during lessons at the planetarium.
*The building is occasionally open to the public for sky shows in the evening during the school year. Dates are listed in Public Sky Shows or in the quick links to the right.
*The Observatory/Planetarium building is currently running pre-arranged U-46 class lessons at half capacity. Public events are still on hold until restrictions loosen. Check back here for updates. Call (847) 888-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Pedaling Preservation-Elgin Blog
By Kim Bauer, architectural preservationist