Portland Observatory on Munjoy Hill. Gary Yim/Shutterstock.com

The Portland Observatory won’t open this year, despite the hopes of the staff of Greater Portland Landmarks, which manages the Munjoy Hill tower that has watched over Portland Harbor since 1807.

Greater Portland Landmarks announced Monday that the Observatory would not open to the public this summer, nor would it be able to offer guided walking tours, because of the pandemic.

“After consultation with the City of Portland and careful consideration for the health of staff, docents, and visitors, it has been determined that the Observatory cannot safely open at this time,” a press release said. “The unique conditions at the Observatory, including the single staircase and the increasingly small floor area on the upper levels of the building, make it impractical, even with additional safety protocols.”

Sarah Hansen, executive director of Greater Portland Landmarks, called the decision “incredibly challenging” and noted that the tower “reflects the strength and ingenuity of our community. The Observatory has seen a lot in its 213 years on Munjoy Hill, and will continue to stand tall as we work together through these difficult times,” she said in the press release.

Videos of docents talking about the Observatory are available at portlandlandmarks.org/observatory. Virtual walking tours are available at portlandlandmarks.org/self-guided-walking-tours.

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