Stars at Yerkes teacher Kathleen Roper of Hoyleton Grade School practices a classroom exercise that demonstrates the properties of the light spectrum. More information can be found here. “We are grateful to the people of Williams Bay for welcoming us to their community for this meeting,” Douglas said. Unless a buyer came forward, they would close the observatory. As the University of Chicago proceeds with talks concerning the future of Yerkes Observatory, one point that has arisen is the potential interest among descendants of Charles T. Yerkes, the philanthropist whose gift first established the observatory in the 1890s. Reply to: Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay update. Educational outreach programs previously offered through the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory will move from the observatory after September 30, 2018 to a new location in Williams Bay, WI. For more than 120 years astronomers and astrophysicists from around the world did just that on the shores of Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, Wisconsin at the Yerkes Observatory… We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. Get answers to your questions about Wisconsin . The University also will make a significant monetary donation of seed funding for YFF at the time of transfer. Talks are continuing with the Yerkes Future Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Williams Bay. It reflects the commitment of both groups to be responsive to the interests of the Village of Williams Bay community, and the importance of providing a sound foundation for YFF as it prepares to lead Yerkes into the future. Since then, the University has issued a call for proposals for the future of Yerkes, and engaged in talks over the summer with parties interested in the property. Thank you Kyle Cudworth and Rich Kron for such great direction on things that should be saved and things that could be safely removed. “The people who attended made important points for us to consider, and the tone of the discussion was extremely respectful and constructive. As part of this effort, the University will continue ongoing talks about the observatory’s future with interested parties, including representatives of Charles T. Yerkes’ descendants, the Village of Williams Bay, and the Yerkes Future Foundation, a non-profit organization located in Williams Bay. On March 7, 2018, the University of Chicago announced that it will end its activities at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis., by Oct. 1, 2018. Watch this listing for more information as it becomes available. Thus, the marketing and sale of the lakefront property will create vital seed funding for YFF’s startup operations and sustained fiscal health, in addition to the University’s initial monetary donation. The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. Dianna, Joe and Mary. The University will share any plan for the future of the observatory with the Village of Williams Bay’s Board of Trustees. On November 30, 1901, astronomer and telescope maker, George Willis Ritchey, observes the heavens through the double slide-plate holder attached to the Yerkes 40-inch Refractor Telescope. Please use the field below to share your feedback with the University. In addition to YFF’s global outreach, YFF will also welcome members of the UChicago community to continue their distinct connection with Yerkes. Frequently Asked Questions “We are delighted that this process is concluding in a way that brings long-term benefits to the Williams Bay community and future visitors to Yerkes, while serving the future of astronomy and astrophysics research and education at the University of Chicago,” said Fithian. This is to be followed by an additional cash donation by the University, drawing on proceeds from the planned sale of three rezoned parcels of University-owned lakefront property, for which the University’s applications are currently pending with the Village. Educational Outreach Programs The University of Chicago and the Yerkes Future Foundation have released the following joint statement: The University of Chicago and the Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) are pleased to announce an agreement in principle for transfer of ownership of Yerkes Observatory and related property located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin to the Yerkes Future Foundation. Some of the educational programs previously offered at the observatory will move to UChicago’s campus in Chicago, and the University understands that a new local organization has plans to operate some programs at a new location in Williams Bay, not affiliated with UChicago. The meeting will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Williams Bay High School is located at 500 W. Geneva St., Williams Bay, Wis. UChicago representatives speak at village meeting in Williams Bay, Wis. Yerkes Observatory is CLOSED We went to go walk around the grounds and hopefully tour the building, but it was roped off and closed to the public. Yerkes and its staff require ample time in order to craft, uphold, and ultimately implement a successful, smooth, and productive transition. Jan 4, 2021 - The Yerkes Observatory is currently closed to the public and is expected to reopen in late 2019 or early 2020. 773.702.7950. Chicago, IL 60637 Douglas said there were a number of themes in the comments, including concern over who might purchase the property, the observatory’s valued role in education programs, and questions about how the University will evaluate proposals. The Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago was named for its benefactor, transportation magnate Charles T. Yerkes, and was opened in 1897. The University will continue to occasionally operate the telescopes at Yerkes to ensure the Observatory can continue to be used for  research and education, and the large collection of glass photographic plates will continue to be available to researchers by appointment via the department Astronomy and Astrophysics. We will continue to work with interested parties to facilitate the attainment of these goals. We recognize that Yerkes means a great deal for many people, and this meeting reflected that.” Please check this site frequently for updates and information. “Our hope is to maintain and develop this beautiful and important observatory as a jewel in the crown of this community for generations to come.”. The three new residential lots will provide an expanded tax base for the Village of Williams Bay. “We are a small, community-focused foundation,” said YFF Chairwoman Dianna Colman, “but our ambitions for Yerkes are not only local and regional, but national and international. Douglas said the views expressed at the meeting will be an important consideration as the University continues to evaluates proposals. The meeting followed the University’s announcement in March that it will wind down its activities at Yerkes and formally cease on-site operations by Oct. 1, 2018. For questions and comments, please contact yerkes@uchicago.edu. It is no longer in operation. UChicago holds public meeting on future of Yerkes Observatory property The University also said that the bequest letter only concerns “the main observatory building and refracting telescope.” At the time it did not reveal the names of the Yerkes descendants, “out of respect for the descendants’ wishes.” This is still the University’s most recent statement on its Yerkes Update page as of May 6. A … We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. The University's most recent prior update about Yerkes, posted on their Yerkes Updates page on August 15, concerned educational programming at the observatory. The transfer to YFF will mark the conclusion of the University’s historic affiliation with Yerkes, allowing the University to make further investments in the future of the field, including projects such as the Giant Magellan Telescope. A small cloud may have drifted over the future of the historic Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay. Yerkes Observatory (Google Maps). The remainder of the proceeds from the sale will help support the future of astronomy and astrophysics at UChicago, including the University’s major investments in the Magellan and Giant Magellan telescopes in Chile. The University will continue to operate the telescopes at Yerkes after the closure to ensure the Observatory can continue to be used for astronomical research and investigation, and the large collection of glass photographic plates will continue to be available to researchers by appointment. Proposals will be confidential at this stage, and the University will continue to share more information with the Village and others as the process unfolds, in coordination with parties who submit proposals. But access to the night sky at Yerkes Observatory on Geneva Lake is slated to end Oct. 1, for now. Plan for closing Yerkes Observatory to public nears completion, as UChicago continues to seek new long-term steward. Wisconsin forums . Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted. Yerkes Observatory is the observing facility of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Chicago and is devoted to research in astronomy and astrophysics, as well as graduate education. Educational outreach programs previously offered through the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory will move from the observatory after September 30, 2018 to a new location in Williams Bay, WI. The university is donating the observatory, several telescopes used to study outer space and 49 acres of surrounding grounds in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, near … Announcement: The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. Leaders from the University and YFF discussed terms of the agreement in March at a meeting of the Village of Williams Bay Plan Commission. UChicago activities at Yerkes Observatory to end in 2018. In late April the University posted a call for expressions of interest from those wishing to articulate a vision for the observatory’s future, including potential owners. The University’s call for Expressions of Interest requests that interested parties submit proposals before June 15. Apart from the main observatory building and the refracting telescope itself, the land and other structures of the Yerkes campus are the property of the University by virtue of other gifts or direct investments of University resources, and are not subject to the terms of the gift from Charles T. Yerkes. October 1892 October 4, 1892, at Yerkes' office on 444 North Clark Street, Hale presents Yerkes with the opportunity to finance the building of the World’s Largest Telescope.Yerkes is informed of the recognition that James Lick received in founding the Lick Observatory and views the available disks as an opportunity to create a lasting legacy. All forums . Your message. Speakers at that meeting expressed support for the observatory’s educational programs, along with concerns about the potential for high-density residential development on the site. Thanks to the University of Chicago and its many Yerkes employees and scientists through the years, Yerkes has been well-maintained, and our goals include enhancing the magnificence of its structure, telescopes and grounds to continue its historic tourism appeal, and to maximize its educational and scientific potential as a forward-looking inspiration to generations of young scientific hopefuls.”. Students and faculty in the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics have continued to do educational and research work at Yerkes Observatory in the past year. “We remain hopeful that a new long-term steward can continue to support the observatory and its legacy, in keeping with the community’s high regard for that history and the potential for education,” said Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs at UChicago. The University of Chicago is in the final steps of a plan to close Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis. to the public as of Oct. 1, 2018. It was operated by the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics from its founding in 1897 to 2020. Dividing the lakefront property into three single-family residences is intended to address those concerns while providing important benefits: Both the University and YFF extended thanks to the Village of Williams Bay for the community’s dedication to Yerkes and its special place in the history and future of the area. Read our community guidelines. All tours and public events at the observatory have ceased. Additional information will be made available as appropriate. Public meeting on May 18, 2018 5640 S. Ellis Avenue The Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay opened in 1897. 6,964 were here. The observatory is on the west side of the village of Williams Bay, Wisconsin, on the bank of Lake Geneva, 76 miles from Chicago. May 1st, 2020 - The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. Yerkes Observatory, shown above in this aerial image high above Williams Bay, has been closed to the public for one year, after more than a century of scientific research and education. We will post updates to this site as they become available. Yerkes Observatory, astronomical observatory located at Williams Bay on Lake Geneva in southeastern Wisconsin, U.S. And so, for about $300,000, the world’s largest telescope was built and Yerkes Observatory was founded in 1897. The University continues to evaluate and pursue options for the long-term operation of the Yerkes campus. “We heard loud and clear that people do not want the University to approach this as an ordinary real estate transaction, and we agree,” Douglas said. We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. Following the observatory’s closure to the public on Oct. 1, the University has continued certain astronomical activities at the observatory, including the use of telescopes and curation of the observatory’s large collection of glass photographic plates. Low-density residential use is being explored as part of a long-term plan for some of the land. Out of respect for the descendants’ wishes, the University agreed not to disclose their names and connection at the time. A slightly longer than normal (24 minute) Sky at Night, broadcast in March 1988, about the Yerkes Observatory. Ask a question Recent Conversations. Yerkes Proposal Process - PDF. Yerkes Observatory (/ ˈjɜːrkiːz / YUR-keez) is an astronomical observatory located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.A. As part of the transfer, scheduled for May 1, the University is donating to YFF the historic observatory campus, which includes the observatory building including the large telescopes, and other property on the site. You two are the best! Buy yerkes observatory canvas prints designed by millions of independent artists from all over the world. Our yerkes observatory canvas art is stretched on 1.5 inch thick stretcher bars and may be customized with your choice of black, white, or mirrored sides. This deadline extension would provide both the observatory and the University 18 months in which to locate and discuss specific details with a new entity in preparation to take over operations of Yerkes. NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, will become a flying classroom for our Stars at Yerkes outreach educators Lynne Zielinski, Kathy Gustavson, and Marcella Linahan (pictured here L-R in the Yerkes Observatory Morgan Room). It was created in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles T. Yerkes. It was a long busy afternoon but very productive. You can take a picture from a distance but that is all. Housed in a six ton, 60-foot … “We are deeply grateful to the Village of Williams Bay and the connection this community has to Yerkes,” Dianna Colman said. She uses equipment from the Active Astronomy Kit from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) project. As part of the process to engage the community about the future of the Yerkes property, the University of Chicago will hold a public meeting at Williams Bay High School on Friday, May 18, 2018. YFF and the University have agreed to several long-term loans of the University’s astronomical equipment that YFF may use at Yerkes, including the observatory’s large collection of glass plates and several historically significant artifacts. We are excited to begin the next phase of restoration, preservation, programming and research at this historic observatory. It contains the largest refracting telescope (40 inches [1 metre]) in the world. Some of the educational programs previously offered at the observatory have moved to UChicago's campus in Chicago and a new local organization, Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM,  has plans to operate some programs at a new location in Williams Bay, not affiliated with UChicago. The Observatory … In April 2018 the University of Chicago, owners of the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, announced that they had no practical use for such an observatory. As we have indicated in public forums, the University understands that comprehensive plans for Yerkes may require approval by the Village of Williams Bay’s Board of Trustees. Sam Dunaiski, the group’s Solar for Good program manager, said a 60-kilowatt array is enough to power the electricity use of … Wisconsin forums . It's one of the largest telescopes in the world open to the public. The observatory, built in the 1890s, has in recent decades been used primarily for education and outreach. Closed/Pending transfer in principle - Yerkes Observatory - The birthplace of modern astrophysics. In line with community priorities, the University is not considering any high-density development. The University of Chicago announced in March that it would close the observatory to the public---but---maintain a minimal operation for educational and research programs. Along with other visitors from around the world, YFF will welcome UChicago scientists, librarians, and students to continue projects and collaboration at Yerkes in the months and years ahead. Both the University and YFF would like to express their appreciation for the support shown by the Yerkes family, the Village of Williams Bay and many educators and scientists. The Yerkes Future Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the past two years. The University welcomes your questions or comments regarding the Yerkes property. Preparations for the transition have been underway since the announcement in March that the University was searching for a new long-term steward for the observatory. The Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wis. is now closed to the public. Over the next several months, both organizations will be working closely on all aspects of the proposed transfer. The University of Chicago ended public access in October 2018. University of Chicago Seeks Expressions of Interest in Yerkes Observatory  The search for a new owner has been informed by discussions with many stakeholders, including a public meeting about the future of the property held on May 18, 2018. We are also currently seeking candidates for the Yerkes Observatory Executive Director position. Representatives from the University of Chicago listened to a wide range of input from community members in a public meeting about the future of the Yerkes Observatory property in Williams Bay, Wis., on May 18. A small group of Geneva Lake residents formed the Yerkes Future Foundation in 2018, shortly after the University’s announcement that it would seek a new long-term steward for the observatory. Ownership was transferred to the non-profit Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) in May, 2020. The Yerkes Observatory, arguably the birthplace of modern astrophysics, is an astronomical observatory of the University of Chicago in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. As introduced at the Plan Commission meeting in March, the University is seeking approval on the rezoning of the lakefront property to three residential lots. After that time, they will be operated by Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM, Inc. and will no longer be supported by the University of Chicago. In making its rezoning proposal, the University listened closely to longstanding community concerns about high-density residential development. Yerkes Observatory, located on the Williams Bay lakefront, has been part of the Lake Geneva region for more than 120 years, but has been closed to … YFF is dedicated to restoring the great, historic observatory as a monument to American achievements in astronomy and as an operating scientific and educational institution capable of carrying Yerkes’ contributions into the future. YFF will receive a share from the proceeds of the sale of the rezoned lakefront lots per the Yerkes Observatory donation agreement. The UChicago representatives were Derek Douglas, Vice President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs, and Edward W. Kolb, Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences. According to RENEW Wisconsin’s grant announcement, the 75 panels awarded to Yerkes Observatory are expected to generate 60 kilowatts of electricity. Please check this site frequently for updates and information. David Fithian, who has led the transfer process for the University of Chicago, said having a successor organization that is dedicated to Yerkes and the community provides an appropriate new chapter for the observatory. Preview. The University of Chicago this week will transfer ownership of Yerkes Observatory and related property located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin to the Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF). In recent months the University has met and spoken with descendants of Charles T. Yerkes and provided them with the original gift document [available here – see text version here], which involves only the main observatory building and refracting telescope. More than 300 people came to the public meeting in Williams Bay, with questions and comments from about 30 individuals and 42 written comment cards. Yerkes Observatory, which has operated in Williams Bay, Wis., near the Illinois border for 121 years and once was considered the birthplace of modern astrophysics, will be closing Oct. 1. University of Chicago to transfer of ownership of Yerkes Observatory to Yerkes Future Foundation. Inquiries concerning these programs should be directed to GLAS Education (email: info@glaseducation.org, website: https://www.glaseducation.org). After that time, they will be operated by Geneva Lake Astrophysics and STEAM, Inc. and will no longer be supported by the University of Chicago. Please check this site frequently for updates and information. No buyer came forward, so they shut the doors to the public on October 1, 2018. At a public meeting held by the Village of Williams Bay, representatives from the University of Chicago took questions from the Village Board of Directors and heard comments from the public about the Yerkes property. Please check this site frequently for updates and information. He said the University is looking for proposals that balance a number of priorities, including the need for a sustainable operational model, the interest in continued public programming, and suitable financial terms. YFF’s objectives include restoration and refurbishing of the telescopes and building, reopening the space for visitors and establishing educational, research, seminars and various additional opportunities for students, astronomers, astrophysicists and others. The University of Chicago, which had announced plans to close the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay in March, made it official Monday by ceasing operations, locking gates and closing to the public. Throughout this process the University has sought to balance a number of priorities, including the need for a sustainable operational model, the community’s interest in continued public programming, and sustainable financial terms. So, for now any high-density development IL 60637 773.702.7950 us to community... 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