Today the Griffith Observatory turns 79. Los Angeles's second or third most famous landmark was first dreamt up in 1912, by "Colonel" Griffith J. Griffith (who'd donated the land for Griffith Park in 1896) after a visit to the then-state-of-the-art Mount Wilson Observatory. He donated the money for the observatory and was appointed head of the committee to supervise construction, but died in 1919 before it had even broken ground, according to the observatory's website. Work started on June 20, 1933 on a building designed by John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley with help from Caltech physicist Edward Kurth and astronomer George Ellery Hale; it was just a few months after the big Long Beach earthquake, which prompted the architects "to abandon the planned terra cotta exterior in favor of strengthening and thickening the building's concrete walls." Meanwhile, because of the Depression, the city could afford fancy materials. Griffith Observatory was formally dedicated on May 14, 1935. Today it's well-known as a filming location for Rebel Without a Cause and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and for being a great place to take selfies. Curbed pal Eric Spiegelman has put together this video slideshow of 12,000 Instagrams hashtagged #GriffithObservatory. It's weirdly spellbinding. Happy birthday, old fella.
· A HISTORY OF GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY [Griffith Observatory]