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 this.
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.
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.
We have had a web presence since 1994, and three major formats. You can even visit our past home pages from 1997 and 2003!
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.
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.
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!.
You can read reports and see photos and videos on our web site about conventions that were held since 2000.
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 2006.
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 Major Donors.
Donated to use by Chroma Technology in 2009, this page documents its removal from Chroma and it's inital setup for aluminum coating.