Friday, March 30, 2007

Magnetic Observatory should be preserved

[Source: Ken Scoville, Daily Star] -- It is a sad irony that the city of Tucson is proposing the demolition of a unique cultural resource, the United States Magnetic Observatory at Udall Park. The park honors Congressman Morris Udall's 30 years of service to the community, and Udall's name is synonymous with conservation of the nation's natural environment and cultural resources. Along with his brother Stewart, the Udalls realized the lasting value of conservation that continues to be missed by the powers that be within the city of Tucson. The observatory was originally established in 1909 to record fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field. Later, a seismographic station was installed. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the buildings surviving today were constructed for residences and research, with some of the construction techniques unique in the nation.

In the early 20th century, Tucson became a center for scientific research with the Steward Observatory, the Desert Laboratory and the Magnetic Observatory. The research done at these facilities and the remaining buildings are part of our proud heritage and are primary resources to the history of Tucson and the nation. The nature of the political world allows the city of Tucson to designate the Magnetic Observatory for demolition because of the deteriorated condition of the buildings and the environmental issues at the site. It appears that some of environmental concerns are a result of procedures for waste disposal while the facility was in use. The decade of neglect of the complex since 1995 when it came under the city's "stewardship" certainly hasn't helped preservation. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]