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Pensacola's astronomy club reaches 50 years

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  • Robert Blake
    50 years ago Pensacola s astronomy club was started as the Warrington Amateur Astronomers Association---named for Pensacola s largest
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2009
      50 years ago Pensacola's astronomy club was started as the Warrington Amateur Astronomers Association---named for Pensacola's largest suburb-Warrington---burned down during a Civil War bombardment but restarted. About three years later-the club went county wide changing the name to that of the county----Escambia.

      In the 1970's, the club went inactive when a new generation of officers did not have the time to keep it fully active. In 1977 the original founder returned to the area as a one year sabbatical leave replacement for Pensacola Junior College's astronomy instructor, Wayne Wooten. After Wayne offered to host a reactivated club when he returned the college made its facilities available to the club including the Owens Planetarium. With this support-the club was reactivated in 1978. Wayne Wooten soon donated a portable 10"----permitting the club to host public star parties. In the 1980's the club began hosting the star gazes at the Ft. Pickens campground-taking over from Frank Palma---who had done the gazes since 1976 as a Pensacola Junior College faculty member.

      When the club was started in 1959---Pensacola was celebrating its Quadicentennial---400 years since the first settlement at Pensacola Bay---even though a hurricane caused the governor to take his charter and leave the area with only 50 remaining---because a hurricane had wiped out the supplies so the area could not support 1300 colonists---so, after two years---most people left. The next governor and charter did not arrive until more than a century and a quarter. If Pensacola can celebrate 4.5 centuries with a gap that large, EAAA can celebrate half a century---with a half dozen years gap. The club was reactivated by the old members.

      Of the founding fathers/original members: Craig Wicke lives in Homestead, FL, Dan Malinsky lives in Gulf Breeze, FL, and Robert Blake lives 2-3 miles west of the Lowell Observatory Dark Site.
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