Preparing the Site for the Main Observatory

The top of Indian Hill was totally covered with trees, so our first task was to clear it. The project started in May 1978 as weekend work sessions and was completed by that Fall. The remaining year was spent cleaning up the place, splitting the wood and selling it to help fund the observatory construction.


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Preparing site

November 1978, five months after starting our project with chain saws, hand saws and hatchets, we had most of the hill cleared.


Tree Cutter

Aside from being amateur astronomers, we were also amateur tree-cutters. The tree was leaning left, so Denny Jefferson climbed it to tie a rope near the top. Then, we could force it to fall to the right.

The smart move would have been for Denny to take the rope up the tree with him. Instead, we tied a metal handle on the rope, then threw it at Denny. He's hanging onto the tree with one hand and tries to catch the metal handle, thrown by Dan, with the other. As luck, and a bad throw would have it, the handle hit him on top of his head and made a loud "clunk". Laughter followed for the next 2 minutes.


The trees we removed were sold as firewood to raise funds for club. On one February 1979 Sunday afternoon work session, George Gliba and Dan Rehner run the wood down the north side of the hill with the toboggan. In this episode, the toboggan got away from them, spilling its load all over the slope of the hill.


December 1980. We go into the back woods to haul out the firewood. The driver of truck says, "no problem, my truck can get through anything". Except tons of mud, which his axle sank into.

After 1 minute and tons of flying mud, the truck is free. That's Doug Caprette running through the mud.


Denny Jefferson doing a loggermans job

Taking Down 

Ian Cooper takes one down at the south end of the hill.


George Gliba doesn't mess around. He just rolls this 100 pound log end over end to the chain saw.

There was a ton of free firewood for the taking in the backwoods, about a 1/4 mile south of the Hill. Since we were still in a fundraising mode, we grabbed it. Devon and Tyler Paullin don't waste time with a chain saw. They just pushed the trees over.

So, he calls his friend, who's got a bigger truck, to haul him out. We hook a chain to the blue truck. That's Ian Cooper in the yellow hat waiting for the fun to begin. The silver truck almost bought the farm trying to maneuver into a good hauling position.

We also had some slack time to round up new members. Here's Dan Rothstein chasing one of the pigs that escaped from the pigpen that Keith kept near our parking lot.

Dan hangs one of several signs that have greeted visitors at our driveway entrance over the last 20+ years. Looking on is Bob Petti and Ian Cooper