Demolition work began at the FitzRandolph Observatory at Princeton University on Tuesday. A Planet Princeton reader was allowed to take photos as workers did prep work at the site in preparation for it to be razed. The site was surrounded by a fence.
Fans of Orson Welles’ the War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938 are familiar with the observatory as the site where the character “Professor Richard Pierson” worked.
Commissioned in 1932, the FitzRandolph Observatory first opened in 1934. The stone structure was built to replace the Halsted Observatory.
The FitzRandolph Observatory is being demolished to make way for a new soccer stadium. Princeton Municipal Planner Michael LaPlace had asked university officials early this year to consider saving the building. He wondered if it could be preserved for adaptive reuse and moved elsewhere. The university conducted a feasibility study and determined that the building was not worth preserving.
University officials told municipal officials that the school will document the structure and salvage stones from the building for use elsewhere.