DELPHOS, Ohio--It’s not the most glamorous house in Delphos Ohio but it just might be the most famous. For much of the last decade owner Jack Adams has been restoring the home to what it might have looked like in the late 18oo’s. Adams used to ride his bicycle by this house as a kid when it belonged to its world famous occupant, Leslie Peltier, the most famous amateur astronomer in the world.
Leslie Peltier’s interest in the universe developed at a young age and never waned. A toy designer by trade, Peltier would wander home after work, eat supper with the family, then bundle up for a night’s viewing behind his home in a succession of homebuilt observatories. In 1925 he discovered his first comet..he would discover 12 comets and two stars in his lifetime. One of them, comet Peltier, bears his name. His hometown of Delphos discovered his fame when Peltier began publishing books..a mix of technical works along with guides for amateur astronomers, and his most famous work, Starlight Nights, about growing up in rural Ohio. Great universities, even NASA, consulted with Leslie Peltier regularly. The Mount Peltier observatory in California is named for him. That mystique inspired Jack Adams to rescue the dilapidated Peltier home and rebuild it.
“Do you ever think of him as you wander around the house? “Oh yes,” Adams says. “Different things. This little window up here that has the air conditioner, it’s one of the only ones that didn’t have a triple storm window on it because when he didn’t go to his observatory he would step out on the roof, sit on the roof and use his hand held telescope.”
There are other reminders of the homes famous tenant, the most impressive is this huge cement obelisk in the back yard…all that’s left of Peltier’s observatory. This is the mount that held the magnificent telescope he spent so many years looking out into the universe through. When he died in 1980 Leslie Peltier was a famous man, but Jack Adams suspects all the fuss didn’t mean a great deal to this quiet man who knew fame was fleeting, and that fortune paled in comparison to the riches he viewed every night from the backyard of his home, in 21Ccountry. This is Eric Olson reporting.
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