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 on the back of the 1910 Elgin National Watch Company Observatory that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Many students have developed a lifelong interest in astronomy 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 evening sky shows during the school year; see links on the left. It is not open in the summer.
You can take a virtual Able Eyes tour using a Google maps format through the building. L1 is the first floor and L2 is upstairs. Click the arrows on the embedded images to the right to "walk around" or click here to go to full screen navigation through the building.
Use this QR to take the tour on a Smartphone.
2023-24 upcoming public dates:
Pedaling Preservation-Elgin Blog
By Kim Bauer, architectural preservationist