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Westminster Street, circa 1950

Ed Wojcik Architect, Ltd. & Brown University, Restoration Award

Restoration Award for Brown University Ladd Observatory Transit Room, 210 Doyle Street

The transit room within the Ladd Observatory at Brown University (built in 1891) was originally used for timekeeping. As stars travelled across the night sky and passed over the cross-hairs of the transit telescope, the time was noted and wired to Washington D.C. via telegraph to record the official time.

Both the interior and exterior of the transit room was restored as part of the project. The transit room, located at the east end of the observatory, is a unique space with operable roof hatches and window sashes that slide into pockets below the sill to create a 180 degree slot through the entire building.

Project work consisted of replacing damaged wood siding; painting, re-glazing, and restoring original window sashes and original roof hatches (which had been previously fixed shut); and re-cladding the roof with zinc coated copper to match original size and shape of copper seaming. The interior scope of work included painting; installing historic replica lighting; restoring the counterweights at window sashes; and restoring the ropes, counterweights, ship’s wheels, and mechanical lift system at roof hatches.

Photographic documentation from the Brown Physics Department was used to match historic details, and expertise and experience of both the Architectural Preservation Group and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission proved to be invaluable.