A TRIBUTE TO GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 70
(Extensions of Remarks - May 11, 2010)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E807]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. ADAM B. SCHIFF

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, May 11, 2010

  Mr. SCHIFF. Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor the seventy-fifth 
anniversary of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California.
  In 1896, Griffith J. Griffith donated 3,015 acres to the City of Los 
Angeles for Griffith Park and several years later in December of 1912, 
he offered funding for a public observatory to the Los Angeles City 
Council. When Mr. Griffith died in 1919, he left funds for construction 
of the Observatory and the Greek Theatre in his will. The 
groundbreaking for the new Observatory building occurred in June of 
1920, and in 1934, the Astronomers Monument was dedicated.
  The formal dedication of Griffith Observatory was on May 14, 1935, 
and it opened to the public the next day. Soon afterward, the 
Observatory began its school field trip program, which ran continuously 
until 2001 and brought millions of students to the Observatory.
  The Observatory has played a crucial role in our nation's history--
whether during the 1940s, when military pilots trained in the 
planetarium theater to learn to navigate by the stars and the 121st 
Coast Artillery members were garrisoned at the Observatory, or in the 
hundreds of motion pictures filmed at the Observatory, including The 
Phantom Empire, Rebel Without a Cause, and Jurassic Park.
  The 75 years have brought many exciting additions and changes at the 
Observatory. 1958 saw the retirement of the first Observatory Director, 
Dr. Dinsmore Alter, after 23 years. In the 1960s, the original Zeiss 
Mark II planetarium projector was replaced with a Zeiss Mark IV 
projector, Apollo astronauts were trained to navigate by the stars in 
the planetarium theater, and Dr. Clarence Cleminshaw retired after 34 
years of service as the Assistant Director (1935-1958) and Director 
(1958-1969). In November of 1973, Laserium premiered--a program that 
continued until January 2002. After Dr. William Kaufman's resignation 
as Director (1970-1974), Dr. E.C. Krupp became the fourth Director of 
the Observatory, a position he currently holds after over 36 years, 
making him the longest-serving Director. The 1970s also saw Griffith 
Observatory designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 
168 and the official incorporation of the Friends Of The Observatory by 
Dr. Krupp and Debra and Harold Griffith.
  In 1985, the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated on May 14, Halley's 
Comet brought in unprecedented crowds, and on January 1, 1989, the 
Observatory was featured on a Rose Parade float in the Pasadena 
Tournament of Roses Parade. In the 1990s, a master plan for the 
Observatory's future was approved, the Astronomers Monument restoration 
was completed, and huge crowds saw live telescopic viewing of Comet 
Shoemaker-Levy 9 crashing into Jupiter. In 2002, the Observatory closed 
to the public after 67 years of service for renovation and expansion 
and on October 30, the groundbreaking for the project occurred. After a 
$93 million makeover, the Observatory building and grounds reopened to 
the public on November 2, 2006. Since that time, the Observatory has 
continued serving the public with new educational school programs and 
  I consider it a great privilege to represent Griffith Observatory and 
I ask all Members to join me in congratulating this iconic, cultural 
landmark upon its seventy-fifth anniversary.