Cincinnati College was founded in 1819. This institution of higher education actually began in 1815 as the Lancaster Seminary, a private high school. Jacob Burnet was the first president of Cincinnati College. The college only operated for six years, closing its doors in 1825 due to financial difficulties. In 1835, Daniel Drake reopened the school, merging it with the Cincinnati Law School. During the late 1830s and the early 1840s, Professor Ormsby McKnight Mitchel directed the construction of the United States' leading astronomical observatory at Cincinnati College. It held the country's largest telescope at that time. Cincinnati College operated from 1835 to 1911, when the institution formally merged with the University of Cincinnati, ending Cincinnati College's separate existence.