William Hammond Hall, designer and first superintendent of Golden Gate Park commented privately that the Observatory was a disgrace to the Park. In 1906, when the earthquake reduced the structure to rubble, Hall told his friends, “Apparently, a Higher Power has taken matters into His own hands.”

In 1917, Maria Becker, widow of banker Bernard Becker offered $42,000 to rebuild the Observatory. The Park Commission rejected the offer, but a compromise was reached and her bequest was used to build the Pool of Enchantment in front of the old de Young museum. Today all that remains of the Sweeny Observatory is a bit of the foundation.