In 1890 Charles H. Latrobe, then Superintendent of Parks, designed the Observatory. The structure was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day. From the top of the tower one can view downtown, Baltimore's many neighborhoods, the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry.
Over time and due to natural decay, vandalism, and lack of maintenance funds, the Observatory was closed to the public in 1951 when the first of a series of partial renovations was attempted. At one point demolition was proposed as an option but thankfully the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park called for the complete restoration of the structure. This project was guided by the Friends of Patterson Park, in partnership with Baltimore City's Department of Recreation and Parks and many neighborhood volunteers. Completed in the spring of 2002, the Observatory now stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park.