many, the U.S. Army silo near Turner Farm Park in Great
Falls was a deteriorating relic from the Cold War era.
But for amateur astronomer Charles H. Olin, it
represented a possibility for something more. And after
more than a decade of work, Olin's goal of seeing the
silo turned into an observatory is nearing completion.
For the past eight years, Olin and a dozen or so
stargazers armed with telescopes have met at the former
military site to view space from the lawn outside the
silo. The land was managed by the National Park Service,
which received its first application from the Fairfax
County Park Authority in 1989 to use it as county park
But it wasn't until the Park Authority was granted
control of the site in 1998 that Olin's efforts to
establish an observatory gained some traction. The former
11-acre Army site is next to Turner Farm Park, a roughly
23-acre former dairy farm that has an outdoor equestrian
riding center, walking paths and farm buildings.