Stellafane Modern History
We define the Modern History era to begin with the purchase of Stellafane East in 1987 and
continue on to the present day. See the Early History page for events before
Some topics have only brief notes and no link to a more complete article. We hope to provide
more details in these areas in the future.
From left to right, the Bunkhouse, Domed Observatory & McGregor
Stellafane East / Bunkhouse / Development
Observatory on Stellafane East.
In 1986 the hayfield we rented for convention camping was going to be turned into
a tree farm, and the future of the Stellafane Convention was in doubt. Several members put their houses
up for collateral so that we could purchase the Stellafane East property (the approximately 40 acre Darryl
Sinon farm on Jordan Road) so that our annual convention could continue without missing a beat. The
old farmhouse became our Bunkhouse, convention command center, and T-shirt sales facility. Roads were improved,
the amphitheater was created amongst the apple trees, and the chicken coup became "Tuthill Towers". With
additional room for camping and events, and the continued growth of the hobby, our convention attendance
grew steadily on the new land. More than two decades after the purchase of Stellafane East, many people
cannot remember a time Stellafane was only the small original site on Breezy Hill. The photo above right
shows two of the three buildings that have since been added to the property (more about them below): The
McGregor Observatory in 1995 and the Domed Observatory in 2005. Not show in the photo is the Flanders
Pavilion, another 2005 addition, which is further to the south at the photographer's back.
The "Pink" Website, 1998-2005
A Brief History of the Stellafane Website
We have had a web presence since 1994, and three major formats. You can even visit
our past home pages from 1997 and 2003!
- McGregor Observatory / Schupmann Refractor
This link will take to you to articles on the design and construction of the McGregor
Observatory and Schupmann Telescope, as well as many images taken with the it. This major project was started
in 1989 and the facility and telescope was dedicated in 1995.
- Browsing Library
The browsing library is located in the warming room of the McGregor Observatory
and is dedicated to Jeanne C. Krzywicki. This article has text and photos about the September 1998 dedication.
In 1998, Harty and Peg Beardsley donated 45 acres of land adjacent to and east of
Stellafane East (see photomap). This land is some called Stellafane
Far East; the lower area is called Harty's Yard. The land was a pole pine plantation, and the Beardsley
donated it to Stellafane after it was harvested. Harty Beardsley was a member of the Springfield Telescope
Makers and President of the Club in the 1950's.
- Prison Lighting
In 1999 Stellafane became concerned that a proposed new state prison in Springfield
could produce significant light pollution and ruin the observing from Stellafane. For four years we worked
to educate people about the light pollution and their impact on our historic facility. Many friends from
around the world supported us, and the The International Dark Sky Association provided us with unprecedented
help. When the town of Springfield voted to accept the prison proposal from the sate, we worked with all
concerned parties to insure a low-light impact facility would be built, again with able technical assistance
form the IDA. When the lights were turned on in 2003, the increased light pollution was barely detectable
from Stellafane, thanks to an advanced lighting design by Nancy Clanton that Stellafane helped negotiate.
Observing at Stellafane is not impacted by the prison!.
- Contemporary Conventions
You can read reports and see photos and videos on our web site about conventions
that were held since 2000.
Domed Observatory, November 2008
In 2003 when we announced plans for the Flanders Pavilion, we also announced that
we would erect a new observatory in the field below the McGregor. Dave Prowten lead this effort, and did
much of the work himself. The 12-foot Ash Dome was donated to the club; it came from an unfinished house
in Carlisle, MA that had been foreclosed and was going to be demolished. The observatory building was completed
just before the 2005 convention; The Springfield mounted 10" Cassegrain Telescope was operational in
- Flanders Pavilion
Erected in 2005, this 6,000 square foot building replaced a rented tent used as an assembly hall
during convention. When it's not used for convention, it is a storage area for our heavy equipment. The
Pavilion would not have been possible without the broad support of many contributors, including
- Nadine - Our Vacuum Coater
Donated to use by Chroma Technology in 2009, this page documents its removal from Chroma and it's inital setup for