Warner and Swasey Observatory – East Cleveland, Ohio - Atlas Obscura

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Warner and Swasey Observatory

East Cleveland, Ohio

This lovely university observatory continues to sit abandoned since its potential savior was sent to jail for fraud. 


Covered in creeping ivy and sporting huge holes in its once stately viewing dome, the former Warner and Swasey Observatory on Hanover Drive in East Cleveland still retains much of its academic grandeur even though it still sits abandoned after its last owner was sent to jail.

The Taylor Road observatory was gifted to the Case School of Applied Science in 1919 by the Warner and Swasey telescope company. The original building was a simple domed tower construction with a powerful telescope that took advantage of the relatively undeveloped Cleveland sky that was at the time, much more free of light pollution. The site continued to develop down the decades, growing with more buildings and facilities, but unfortunately by 1950 the growth of the nearby city was shining too much ambient light into the night sky and the telescope had to be moved into a new location in Arizona. The Taylor Road facility continued to conduct astronomical research into the 1970s but the site was completely abandoned in 1982.

Vines and decay accumulated on the walls as time and neglect took their toll on the observatory, however it was finally repurchased in 2005 by real estate mogul Nayyir Al Mahdi who planned on turning the site into a luxury home. Unfortunately his renovation plans nose-dived in 2007 when he was convicted of fraud and sent directly to jail.

Today the observatory continues to stand off Taylor Road, decaying with the beauty and color of the stars it once used to gaze upon.  

Know Before You Go

Best viewed from the outside, do not trespass inside the building. 

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