Dr. Edgar Larkin, Astronomer
Doctor Edgar Lucien Larkin was appointed to the position of director of the Mt. Lowe Observatory in August 1900. He was replacing the nearly blind Dr. Swift who was eighty years old. Dr. Swift was well known for his discoveries of comets and nebulae and he brought great attention to the observatory.
Dr. Larkin's approach was a bit different but in holding with Professor Lowe's ultimate dream of a scientific institute on the mountain. Dr. Larkin pushed the idea of the observatory being an informative, educational, and entertaining attraction to the many visitors from the world below.
After the fires on Echo Mountain the observatory was one of the last attractions at the top of the incline. Saturday, Sunday, and holiday evenings were set aside by the Dr. for free astronomical lectures and a chance for patrons to look through the great telescope. On other evenings the observatory was available to schools and private parties through special arrangements of the Traffic department of Pacific Electric.
When Larkin was director of the observatory the Pacific Electric Railroad was in full control of the activities on the mountain. In fact Dr. Larkin was employed by Pacific Electric making him the worlds only astronomer employed by a traction railroad.
Pacific Electric promoted the observatory very well and even put out a handsome folder which brought heavy crowds to hear the lectures.
Dr. Larkin was a man of many interests. He was interested in the occult and two sunken continents, Atlantis and Mu, in the Pacific. Dr. Larkin was very down on astrology as many visitors soon found out upon inquiring about the subject.
The Dr. wrote a book around 1914 titled "Within the Mind Maze" described by him as a book of creative thought. It sold for $1.25 back then an the Dr. suggested it to all who corresponded with him.
The Dr. was loved by many. One of his best friends was Charles Lawrence the photographer. During the doctors last years Lawrence became his assistant at the observatory.
In 1924 Dr. Edgar Lucien Larkin died. His wish was to be buried on the mountain which had been his home for 20 years. His son Ralph Larkin from Claremont was an ordained minister and asked Lawrence to accompany him to a little promontory near Inspiration Point. It was there the tow men scattered the cremated remains of Dr. Larkin on his beloved mountain.
By Jake Brouwer
Land-Sea Discovery Group wants to obtain a copy of the book "Within the Minds Maze" by Edgar Lucien Larkin or circulars about the book. Photos, pamphlets, and information wanted on the observatory and its directors Swift, Larkin, and Lawrence.
CONTACT Land~Sea Discovery Group, PO Box 401904, Hesperia, Ca. 92340
Send email to Echowebmaster@aaaim.com to report any problems.
Last modified: February 12, 1999
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