These pages cover the initial construction of the observatory in 2001.
These pages cover mainly the two roll-off-roof buildings. For details of the dome construction in 2006, skip to here.
Every year as the Memorial Day weekend approaches hundreds of thousands of people begin gathering in Indiana for a great tradition. The crowds gather and the partying begins. Then God looks down and says "what is this commotion that goes on every year in that place? The place is called Indiana so it must be a rain dance!" And the rain began on Wednesday, and continued until the weekend. This year the Indy 500 ran on Sunday without much interference from the rain, but half of Saturday was rained out, and the observatory area was a muddy mess. Nevertheless, the three day weekend allowed a lot of progress and we put in the second floor, cut all the posts to the correct level and added the beams at the tops of the walls and for the rails, and the rest of the wall frame, and put in a bunch of wall trim to bring the walls out as far as the joist support boards at the bottom.
A false omen. Much more rain followed.
The posts needed to be cut down to the correct height for the track, but this needed to be done very accurately so that the roof would roll easily. A garden hose with clear hose sections taped to the ends and filled with water was used to mark all the posts at the same height. This "water level" was found to be considerably more accurate than a conventional surveyor's transit.
Then the posts were cut nearly to length with a chainsaw, and then more accurately cut with a circular saw.
Sighting along the tops of the cut posts to check that the heights are consistant. An accuracy of about 1\16th of an inch was achieved.
(Above) Beams for the tops of the walls and the tracks have been added, and the wall framing has been finished. Russ has apparently collapsed from exhaustion.
(Above right) Wall trim is being added.
(Right) During the following week, cross braces were added to keep the track posts in line, and the rest of the wall trim was added.