The Weston Observatory is a perfect place to spend the day. Located on Oak Hill Drive, the observatory is walking distance from Derryfield Park. Its grounds boast hiking trails with breathtaking views of the city of Manchester. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the observatory is also rich in Manchester history.
The cornerstone of the Weston Observatory was laid on September 7th, 1896 during Manchester’s 50th anniversary celebration. The observatory was built in honor of James Adams Weston, a well known Manchester citizen. James Adams Weston began his career as the assistant civil engineer of the Concord Railroad at the age of nineteen. Due to his aptitude for math, Weston was promoted to Chief Engineer within three years. After leaving the railroad, Weston worked as a banker and served on the boards of many banks and other corporations. However, Weston is best remembered for his successful career as a politician. A democrat, Weston managed to win the mayoralty of Manchester four times during the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. This was a very impressive feat, as the majority of the population of the city belonged to either the Republican or the Whig party. During his time as mayor, James Weston put programs whose purpose was to beautify Manchester’s parks and cemeteries into place. He was also responsible for the construction of the city’s waterworks system. Weston went on to serve two terms as the governor of New Hampshire. He was the first Manchester native to serve as both mayor and governor.
The Weston Observatory is made of granite and stands 66 feet tall. The top of the observatory stands an astounding 360 feet above Elm Street. During World War II, it was used as a spotting post by air raid wardens. Now, it can be used to view some of New Hampshire’s most well known landmarks, including Mount Monadnock, Mount Kearsage, Mount Chocorua, Rock Rimmon, Lake Massabesic, the Uncanoonuc Mountains, Joe English Hill, and Tower Hill. On a clear day, it is even possible to see Mount Washington from the observatory’s platform.