Frank Herbert Loud
B.A. Amherst 1873 M.A. Harvard
1899 Ph.D. Haverford 1900
Colorado College President Edward Tenney
recruited Loud to Colorado Springs from Boston in 1877 to be the first head of
the department of mathematics.
Tenney's involvement in fraudulent land speculation in the
Seven Lakes area led to his ouster as the President of Colorado
Loud may have discovered the Jones Park area during a trip
As a classmate of Melvil Dewey, Loud set up
the Colorado College library system and the Dewey system was used
until 1987 when conversion to Library of Congress began.
In 1878, a solar eclipse that
was best observed in Colorado and Wyoming was to occur.
Colorado College did not have a telescope, or funds to
participate, but Loud worked with astronomers coming to Colorado
and ultimately obtained a telescope.
Despite no experience, his observations were the start of
high altitude astronomy in the west.
The eclipse was
the beginning of a career in astornomy for Loud and led to his
setup of the Colorado College Wolcott Observatory.
Loud's 1880 textbook, An Introduction to
Geometry upon the Analytical Plan, began the tradition of
textbook writing by CC faculty members. He continued to make a
number of mathematical contributions in research papers.
Loud formed the Colorado Meteorological
Association, which had its headquarters at the College's
Loud was employed by the US Weather Bureau and provided data from
stations on Pikes Peak, Clyde, Jones Park and Colorado
From May 1899 to Jan. 1900, Nikola Tesla moved to Colorado
Springs to conduct experiments involving wireless energy.
He set up a laboratory in the vicinity of Kiowa and Foote
Street in a large barn like structure.
Part of Tesla’s research involved sending radio waves into
space using an amplifier.
During one of these experiments, Tesla used a crude radio
telescope to listen to any response from outer space.
He heard the famous: “one, two three ..” that he
interpreted as possibly coming from Mars sometimes called the
At the time, Loud was a pre-eminent
astronomer in the western United States, and certainly in Colorado
Springs. Loud was
developing an observatory in the Nob Hill area of Colorado
Springs within blocks of Tesla’s laboratory.
Both Loud and Tesla were well known in the scientific
community and were often published in the same publications.
The librarian of Colorado College, Manly D. Ormes,
described Tesla’s laboratory in an article in the Gazette in 1924
indicating that scientists from Colorado College had toured
There is some logic to believe that Tesla
would have consulted the pre-eminent astronomer in the area
concerning what he heard from his radio telescope.
Of course, Loud would have been at some disadvantage as the
radio, amplifier, and radio telescope had not yet been invented.
Perhaps, Loud, the mathematician, had the same reaction as
the Gazette, in believing Tesla to have gone mad and that he was
telling the biggest lie possible.
is no evidence of any actual meeting between Tesla and Loud.
Tesla was an eccentric, and Loud extremely shy. If they
did in fact meet, one can only imagine what sort of stilted, and
awkward, conversations they might have had.
In any event, Colorado Springs was spared the
label as the first place contacted by unidentified aliens from
outer space. Tesla,
believing he had found the answer to transmitting electricity
without wires, lost interest in the aliens and hastily left for
New York to construct his newest invention.
Who knows what Loud though or knew, but he
likely kept anything said, to himself, to avoid the public
ridicule Tesla endured.
1903, Loud set up the Nob Hill Observatory on a hill to
the east of Colorado Springs. The special Cooke lens provided photography for the
telescope. Loud sold stock in the observatory that was to provide
detailed images shot at high altitude. Unfortunately, the
caretaker, Lew Warriner doused the floor with coal oil, set the
observatory on fire, then shot himself.
On his retirement in 1907, Loud continued to
live in Colorado Springs (1203 N. Tejon St.) and to pursue his
meteorological and astronomical work.
In 1918, Loud led the observation of another
solar eclipse in Colorado.
See: 128 page History of Loud by Steve Ruskin
who is the expert on Loud's history:
Advancing Astornomy on the American
Frontier: The Career of Frank Herbert Loud by Steve Ruskin
Colorado College: Frank Loud:
"Lew H. Warriner, caretaker of the Stellar
Observatory for Prof. Frank H. Loud of Colorado College, committed
suicide early to-day by shooting himself, after having first
soaked the floors of the observatory with coal oil and fired it in
Below: the Louds Cabin "Chipmunk Lodge".