Henry Draper Observatory

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Henry Draper Observatory
Front view of building in 2007
Henry Draper Observatory is located in New York
Henry Draper Observatory
Henry Draper Observatory is located in the United States
Henry Draper Observatory
Location407 Broadway, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Coordinates40°59′28.6″N 73°52′47.1″W / 40.991278°N 73.879750°W / 40.991278; -73.879750Coordinates: 40°59′28.6″N 73°52′47.1″W / 40.991278°N 73.879750°W / 40.991278; -73.879750
Arealess than one acre
Builtc. 1860 (1860)
NRHP reference #75001237
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 15, 1975[1]
Designated NHLMay 15, 1975[2]

The Henry Draper Observatory, also known as Draper Cottage and incorrectly as the John William Draper House, is historic house and local history museum in Draper Park off US 9 in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, United States. Its core is an astronomical observatory built about 1860 for Henry Draper (1837-1882).[3] It was here that he made astrophotography history, taking some of the earliest photographs of the Moon to include identifiable features through a telescope in 1863.

The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975,[2][4] on the mistaken belief the building was a residence of Henry Draper's father, John William Draper (1811-1882). The elder Draper was in his time a noted scientist, active in a variety of disciplines, who was best remembered for improvements he made to the daguerrotype process of photography. He was influential in his lifetime, and was one of the last generation of general natural scientists before specialization within fields became common.[4]

The observatory was enlarged under Henry Draper's use with a second dome, and passed to his sister Antonia Draper Dixon after his death. The second dome was destroyed by fire in 1905, but was rebuilt by Dixon. The building was reconfigured in 1912 by Dixon for use as her residence, and it remained her home until her death in 1923. The building and the surrounding park, after protracted decision-making and legal issues, passed to the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, with the stipulation that the building be used as a museum. It is now home to the local historical society.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b "John W. Draper House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-15. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05.
  3. ^ "John William Draper and the Hastings Observatory". Marion Martin. Hastings Historian: A Quarterly Publication of the Hastings Historical Society. 2007-09-05. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21.
  4. ^ a b James Sheire (1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: John W. Draper House" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying 1 photo, exterior, from 1975. (509 KB)
  5. ^ "History of the cottage". Hastings Historical Society. 1997. Retrieved 2018-04-12.

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