In the early 1950's after the NSF agreed that it would fund the creation of a National Astronomical Observatory, Dr. Aden Meinel, then at the Yerkes Observatory, was put in charge of identifying a site. Several criteria were established, including that the site be within easy travel distance of a city that had good acccess to national transportation, such as car, train, and air. That it be in the southwest was pretty much assumed, because to the known large fraction of days with clear skies. Dr. Helmut Abt, also of Yerkes, who observed at the McDonald Observatory in west Texas, was pressed into service to make an aerial reconnaissance of the mountains in New Mexico and Arizona. Some of his stories are relate in an interview now transcribed and accessible via the AIP at the Niels Bohr Library . Dr. Frank Edmundson, Indiana University, described many details about the search for the site of the National Observatory in his book. (ref?)

Meinel chose Phoenix as the initial headquarters for the site selection effort and moved there in 1955. Helmut Abt reports that he, Meinel and Thompson drove from Yerkes Observatory to Arizona in Helmut's convertible.



Al Martinez, Aden Meinel, Harlod Thompson, Raymon Lopez. Apparently taken by Tucson Citizen reporter/photographer Clifford Abbott. The handwritten labels mistakenly identify the date as Feb. 1956, whereas the trip actually occured March, 1956. Abbott had published an article in the Citizen on March 2, 1956, describing the planned trip to occur later in the month.
Meinel-Thompson_on_KP_1956bb



Meinel & Thompson at "Ostrich" rock.
horsetrip_CT_ABM-HT-ostrichcb



The campers on Kitt Peak.
horsetrip_CT_camping_b



Thompson before the trip, posing at the Carroll Ranch.
711



Meinel before the trip, posing at the Carroll Ranch.
712



The Jeeps parked at the "Carroll Ranch".
713



Thompson getting his camping gear ready.
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Thompson getting his gear ready.
715



Abbott surveying the coral.
722



Lopez (?) getting the horses ready.
723



Meinel getting his horse ready.
724



Thompson mounted.
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One last drink before the trail.
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Ramon Lopez mounted and ready to go.
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Viwew of the mountain from the desert near the Ranch.
729



Meinel and Al Martinez during a lunch break on the ascent.
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Horses grazing during the rest break.
733



Lopez making coffee during break.
734



Thompson and Lopez repacking gear before resuming ascent.
736



Trees near summit.
737



Unpacking horses at "meadow" on summit of Kitt Peak.
738



View of the valley to the southeast seen from summit.
739



View of Kitt Peak summit from south (near 0.9m site.)
740



View of Baboquivari from south summit.
741



Meinel and Thompson with Baboquivari in background.
742



Meinel and Thompson with Baboquivari in background.
743



Another view of north summit from south.
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View of north summit with profile of "Ostrich rock"
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Thompson and Abbott at the campsite at sunrise. Temperature reached 26 F overnight.
745



Abbott on south en of north summit.
746



View of south ridge from north summit.
747



View of east end of south ridge from north summit.
748



Thompson hoding towel on peak of north summit with Ramirez and lopez..
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Meinel holding towel on peak, with Lopez and Ramirez.
752ab



Meinel standing on rocks at peak.
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View of valley from peak, looking north
754



Looking NNW
755



Looking NW
756



Looking towards Sells.
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Looking WSW
758



Looking ESE towards Wrightson and Hopkins..
759



Looking ENE
761



Looking NE towards Tucson & Mt. Lemmon.
762



Looking North.
763



Abbott and Thompkins with Summit in background.
764



View of area south of Summit that become the seeing tower site.
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View of vegetation near camp, Thompson in foreground.
766



Meinal with tripod on south summit, with Abbott.
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Meinal with tripod on south summit photgraphing north summit, with Abbott.
768



View of southwest ridge from south summit.
769



View of Baboquivari from south summit.
770



Breaking camp with horses.
771



getting ready to leave, horses saddled and loaded.
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getting ready to leave, horses saddled and loaded.
773



On the trail throough old burn area on SW ridge near 5800 feet.
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Taking a break on descent.
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Meinel's cast after horse fell on descent.
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Kammert's Trading Post, Sells, AZ, 1956.
716



Sells from east end, 1956
717 - Sells



Rodeo livestock grounds in Sells, 1956.
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Park in BIA housing area, Sells, 1956.
719



School in Sells, 1956.
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Trading post hill, Sells, 1956.
721 - Sells