Stargaze at John Bunyan’s 1930’s Observatory

John Bunyan opened his celestial observatory to Berthoud school students during the 1930s and ’40s. Clyde Hodge maintains that tradition as he prepares to lead a tour of local third-graders through the observatory.

This program is offered from May through September and takes place on the first Friday of each month. Please enter through the front gate of the museum complex. This is a free family friendly program.

The Bunyan Observatory at the Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum is a working replica of the courtyard astronomical observatory that banker John Bunyan built at his Berthoud home in 1933.

Outfitted with Bunyan’s original Brashear telescope (6 inches in diameter and nearly 7 feet long) the observatory is an exhibit during regular museum hours and a site for public stargazing the first Friday night of each month beginning at dusk.

The observatory may also be scheduled for special group tours and celestial viewing – click here to request more information.

John Bunyan, president of the Berthoud National Bank from 1912 to 1948, developed a passion for astronomy while attending the University of Colorado in the 1890s. In 1956 Bunyan’s failing eyesight prompted him to donate the observatory building and its contents to his alma mater. The University of Colorado returned Bunyan’s telescope to the Berthoud Historical Society in 1998 and a working replica of the observatory was built in 2003-04.

Berthoud banker John Bunyan at his backyard observatory c. 1935. Local carpenters
crafted the building with a hand-cranked roll-away roof that opened the telescope to the skies.

Berthoud, Colorado, (pop. 5,000) is a town with two astronomical observatories. Visit the modern Little Thompson Observatory on the Berthoud High School campus.