Low Divide Lookout & AWS Site
When the army started placing the first Aircraft Warning Service lookout persons at Forest Service and National Park Fire Lookouts, the original lists included Low Divide. Although nobody has knowledge about a fire lookout station placed at Low Divide prior or since WWII, these documents suggest there was something or someone stationed there to watch for fires. AWS lists say the building was private, already in place a the time, and rented for the duration of the war. I haven't determined which structure was used, because there have been several cabins up on Low Divide. The Low Divide Chalet was built in 1927 by he Olympic Chalet Company. By 1930 they were proposing a landing field for airplanes at Low Divide, and also considered damming the glacial stream in Martin's Park to create a big long lake for seaplanes to land. Along with the chalet, a bathhouse was built and five shake cabins in the vicinity of the chalet. Having difficulties during the Great Depression years, in 1932 and 1933 payment of the Forest Service special use permit went unpaid. In 1936 the Olympic Chalet Company was automatically dissolved by the State of Washington for nonpayment of the annual corporate license fee.
These structures were still around in 1942 when the AWS started using one of the cabins, or maybe the chalet, as a aircraft spotting station. The AWS inventory says the building was privately owned, with the building under permit rental. Documents also show on this page, Low Divide was already considered a Fire Lookout by the National Park Service before AWS started. It is possible that Low Divide was just placed on this list of fire lookouts because it was a structure was already standing, and there was nowere else to list it. The final demise of the Low Divide Chalet came during the winter of 1944 when an avalanche completely demolished the chalet and the cabins. The bathhouse survived and was remodeled and used by the National Park Service during the summer as a ranger station for many years. In 1981, a prefabricated building replaced the converted bathhouse as the Low Divide Ranger Station. The bathhouse was removed a short time later.
Location: SW1/4 Section 27, Township 26 North, Range 7 West
Ownership at time: National Park Service
Elevation: 3,600 feet
Aircraft Warning Service - Washington State
AWS Map 1942
AWS Map 1942 showing activation date of April 11, 1942
List of Lookouts for use as AWS
Low Divide 1932
Low Divide Chalet 1932
Low Divide Chalet
3 page document in Jan 1942 at the start of AWS discussions
SW1/4 Section 27
Township 26 North, Range 7 West
Showing reporting stations and if telephone line. The first Olympic AWS locations
Inside the Low Divide Chalet in 1927
That is me at Low Divide in 1990 during 50 mile boy scout hike, 47 years late after the Chalet was destroyed. Shot taken as we were leaving to climb the peak above, Point 5666.
1981 Prefabricated building replaced Low Divide Ranger Station in 1993
Low Divide Ranger Station 1970
All known fire lookouts at the time, except Low Divide. (Camp 3 is Grisdale, Camp 5 is Drake)