The 60th anniversary of the opening of the Palomar Observatory is being marked by a new exhibit at the Valley Center History Museum.
Museum President Bill Hutchings said the display will not show the typical photos of the finished observatory but, instead will focus on the construction of both the mountain-top site and the road leading to the dome. For the first time, photos will be publicly exhibited showing County prisioners who comprised much of the work crews.
Hutchings said other unusual items in the exhibit are newspaper ads of the late 1940's and 1950's when merchants along Valley Center Road used the phrase "Highway to the Stars" as their official address.
There are also photos of crowds lining the streets on November 18 and 19, 1947, when the Hale Telescope made its way through Valley Center. Streets signs reading "Highway to the Stars" also lined the roadway.
The observatory was dedicated in June of 1948 and opened to the public in January 1949. The museum exhibit will continue through January.
Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 29200 Cole Grade Road. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (760) 749-2993 or visit valleycenterhistory.org.
I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I hope to see it soon. Here's a shot of the old Highway to the Stars sign: