We dedicate this page to Dr. Amos Hoff, founder of the Phoenix Observatory Association and the Phoenix Astronomical Society. The following images were acquired from yearbooks archived at the Phoenix College Office of Alumni and Development. Original photo captions are provided where available.
An autographed 1963 Phoenix College yearbook provided the only color photo of our founder.
This very early photo shows the Phoenix College astronomy class on November 12th, 1943, five years before the creation of the Phoenix Observatory Association.
Caption 1: Standing from left to right are Mr. Hoff, Stanley Price, Jacqueline Newman, Billie Hagans, Mrs. Anita Tormohlen, Marion Eccles, Robert Colburn, Kay Hughes, Harley Mitchell, Virginia Lee.
Caption 2: J.C. Astronomers Locate Venus - We have all done a little star gazing at one time or another, but the J.C. astronomy class locates planets in the middle of the afternoon. Using the school's 5-inch refractor, the students located Venus at 2:30 one afternoon several weeks ago. Mr. Hoff said in an interview, "The astronomy class has been emphasizing aerial navigation as well as astronomy, since most of the class is interested in aviation training. We are studying astronomy, meteorology, and celestial navigation." Constellation study is engaged during the day (and at night, too). Mr. Hoff said this knowledge is an important consideration in an aviator's finding his position by the stars. Astronomy is a four-hour course. There are more girls than boys in the class.
Hoff founded and moderated the Astronomy Club, pictured here in 1947. Their main scope was PC's 5 inch Clark Refractor. It's focal length can be inferred from this nearly side-on image as approximately 2 meters. This would make it an f16 instrument.
Caption 1: Left to right standing: Willis Peterson, Charles Phillips, Lucille Smith, Bob Gibson, Joan Waldie, Lewis DeLellis, Freida Vaughn, Sam Stephens, Mr. Hoff, Paul Corcoran, Earl Goodman, Justin Herman, Alice Melby, Simon Krevitsky, Phyllis Brown, John Pound. (Hmmm ... must be a pretty skirt Paul and John are looking at.) Seated: Florence Miller, Katherine Hadley, Billee Neithercutt.
Caption 2: [Astronomy Club] Availing all interested Phoenicians in general and PJC students in particular with an opportunity to view the heavens through one of the finest telescopes in the west, the Astronomy Club enjoyed one of its most active and successful years in 1946-47. The club, sponsored by Mr. Amos Hoff, owns a Clark Brothers five inch refractor type telescope. The club's purpose is to promote increased student interest in astronomy.
Here is another image of the 5 inch Clark, later deployed on a steady pier mount also at Phoenix College (photo by Jerry Belcher).
Amos Hoff in 1947, checking out some optics.
Amos Hoff in 1957, demonstrating operation of the 24 inch telescope to some of his astronomy students.
Caption: Looking Skyward, left, with the aid of the school's twenty-four inch telescope are: Mr. Amos Hoff, Instructor, John Pyper, Dennis Campbell, Alan Moseley, and Martha Featherstone. The telescope they are using is the largest in the state and the largest of its type in the United States built by amateurs. Anybody at home on the Milky Way?
The Phoenix College Astronomy Club in 1961.
Caption 1: Sky geographers pictured are, first row, Billy Krist, Alan Rowher, Mr. Hoff, faculty advisor, Herb Saladin, Febe Saladin, secretary, Irene Miskimen, Howard Miskimen; second row, Joe Owen, club president, Charmaine Owen, Jim Stevenson, John Phillips, Cecil Walker, Tony Baker, Bert Jensen, Charles Warmkesel, Dayne Adams; third row, Larry Wich, Harry Simmons, Jim Sherman, Ray Allen, John Rongish, David Benton, vice president, Jerry Belcher, Dale Farrar, and Jim Wartham.
Caption 2: With the Space Age already in progress, the Astronomy Club has an up-to-date interest in the state of affairs 'way out yonder. The club, over the years, has been instrumental in building a telescope, constructing an observatory, working on a planetarium, and watching for satellites. The club meets two evenings a month, and visitors are always welcome.
Amos Hoff, year unknown, relaxes with a favorite eyepiece. Note the dedication plaque on the desk behind him. It reads "Phoenix College Observatory." Note also the 24 hour clock on the wall. This is likely the interior of the roll-off observatory that for several years resided at the PC campus. The individual whose profile is shown in relief on the plaque is not unambiguously identifiable, but could be Hoff himself. The current disposition of this plaque remains a mystery.
Amos Hoff in 1967, the year of his retirement.