View looking east along Bank Street (9/2006). Four periods of construction of the Pittsylvania County Courthouse are discernible at left:
On the right are seen:
39 Bank Street (9/2006). The central office of the Pittsylvania County Schools was built around 1967. The parking lot is the former athletic field of the old Chatham High School, which is just out of view to the right.
Pittsylvania County Schools Planetarium (9/2006). The Pittsylvania County Schools Planetarium (no longer operational) was constructed in 1967 as a part of a federally-funded project which renovated the former Chatham High School building (to which the planetarium chamber is attached) into an Educational and Cultural Center. The planetarium project was initiated by assistant school superintendent Maxwell Bryant and the facility was designed by Jack Gross, its first director. After Gross, subsequent planetarium operators were John Calabrisi, Henry Mitchell, and Brian Buchanan.
The facility pioneered uses of planetarium instrumentation for cross-curricular educational purposes. At the outset it utilized a Venus model projector manufactured by the Goto Optical Company. Through the years well over a hundred auxiliary projection devices, many of them custom-made on-site, were added. Beginning in the 1980's Visible Universe software (designed by University of Maryland astronomy graduate Rickey Parker) was intensively tested by students in the local gifted and talented program, and was incorporated into the planetarium operation both for accurate animated projection and for desktop student use. After being “test-driven” in Chatham, the software went on to serve numerous professional purposes at other educational and research institutions, NASA, and the military.
During its operational years, the planetarium had an ancillary “Mini Museum” featuring local natural history and curated by naturalist Bill Hathaway. The museum's collections have been transferred to the Danville Science Center and the Pittsylvania Historical Society. Educational efforts continue online under private sponsorship as Bill Hathaway's website PittPaths.com.
Law office of retired Virginia Supreme Court Justice W. Carrington Thompson (9/2006).
This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.
Copyright © 2006–2008 Patricia B. Mitchell.