The Observatory bookstore on North Franklin Street, run by Dee Longenbaugh, is closing and will hold a sale Nov. 16 through the 26.

The Observatory bookstore on North Franklin Street, run by Dee Longenbaugh, is closing and will hold a sale Nov. 16 through the 26.

Observatory Books to close after 39 years

A large red sign announcing a closing sale hangs on the door of The Observatory, a downtown bookstore. After selling books for nearly 40 years, the store’s owner has decided to call it quits, but the future of The Observatory is still unclear.

“I’ve always loved it because I love books, and I love bookstores, but it was about time,” said Dee Longenbaugh, who opened the store in 1977.

The Observatory, located on the corner of Franklin and Third streets, has been closed since January when Logenbaugh, 82, fell ill. The store will reopen for a 10-day going-out-of-business sale on Nov. 16. Longenbaugh doesn’t yet know what will happen to her store after the sale ends.

She hasn’t yet set a final closing date, nor has she established a sale price for her business, she told the Empire Monday afternoon. Longenbaugh’s sister will be traveling to Juneau from Sitka later this week to help nail down the details.

For now, Longenbaugh just hopes that whomever buys the store won’t repurpose the space.

“I really recommend a bookstore for anybody who loves books,” she said. “It’s wonderful having a bookstore and chatting with people who come by. That’s been one of the charms of having the store.”

• Contact reporter Sam DeGrave at 523-2279 or

Correction: Dee Longenbaugh’s name was mispelled in an earlier version of this article. 

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