Three Fingers Lookout

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Three Fingers Lookout
Lookout is white building on left peak
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LocationDarrington Ranger District on the southernmost peak of Three Fingers, Darrington, Washington
Coordinates 48°10′12″N121°41′11″W / 48.17000°N 121.68639°W / 48.17000; -121.68639 Coordinates: 48°10′12″N121°41′11″W / 48.17000°N 121.68639°W / 48.17000; -121.68639
Arealess than one acre
Built1930 (1930)
Built byEngles, Harold; Et al.
MPS USDA Forest Service Fire Lookouts on Mt. Baker--Snoqualmie National Forest TR
NRHP reference # 87001190 [1]
Added to NRHPJuly 14, 1987

The Three Fingers Lookout is a historic fire observation building on one of the summits of Three Fingers Mountain in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snohomish County, Washington. Built in 1930 in an extremely challenging location, it is one of the oldest surviving observation posts in the forest. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, [1] and is now maintained by a local climbing group.

Three Fingers (Washington) mountain

The Three Fingers is a mountain which is located in Snohomish County, Washington. At a height of 6,859 feet (2,091 m), it is the 43rd-tallest mountain in the state, and is also part of the Cascade Range."Three Fingers" refers to the mountain's three summits. The Three Fingers is a prominent and recognizable landmark in northern Snohomish County.

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington is a National Forest extending more than 140 miles (230 km) along the western slopes of the Cascade Range from the Canada–US border to the northern boundary of Mount Rainier National Park. Administered by the United States Forest Service, the forest is headquartered in Everett.

Snohomish County, Washington County in the United States

Snohomish County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. With an estimated population of 801,633 as of 2017, it is the third-most populous county in Washington, after nearby King and Pierce counties. The county seat and largest city is Everett. The county was created out of Island County on January 14, 1861 and is named for the Snohomish tribe.


Description and history

The Three Fingers are a prominently visible peak in the Darrington Ranger District in central northern Snohomish County. Set on top of the southernmost pinnacles of the peak's eponymous three summits, is a one-room wood frame cabin measuring 14 by 14 feet (4.3 m × 4.3 m). Its wooden floor is bolted directly to the rock, and the structure is further held in place by guy cables attached to nearby rock outcrops. The exterior is finished in wooden clapboards. Windows are either fixed sash or casement, with operable shutters supported by extremely heavy duty metal parts. The shutters on the south and west faces are not original, those having blown off in the high winds that frequent the setting. The interior is finished in original beadboard paneling on the walls and ceiling. A chain with turnbuckle is mounted at the ceiling level, joining the east and west walls as a means to strengthen the building against lateral wind forces. The exterior is also fitted with a lightning protection system. [2]

The lookout was built over a three-year period between 1930 and 1932 by Harold Engles and Fred Benesh. Engles and Harry Bedel had first scaled the peak in 1929, to investigate its feasibility as a fire observation site, given its visual prominence. The site was prepared by blasting 15 feet (4.6 m) off the top of the pinnacle to create a level foundation. Construction materials were brought by pack animals to with 600 feet (180 m) of the summit, and transported via a tram system to the work site, which was accessed by a series of ropes and ladders. The building is a nearly standard example of an L-4 Forest Service lookout, lacking only an outside catwalk due to the site geography. Engles and Benesh had originally planned to place a smaller D-5 lookout, a 12 by 12 feet (3.7 m × 3.7 m) structure that was standard until 1929. The building is one of two L-4 models still standing in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. [2]

The building was staffed seasonally between 1933 and 1942, and was the abandoned for financial reasons. A local mountaineering group has taken over its maintenance. [2]

The roof was replaced in 2015 using materials delivered via helicopter by the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office. [3]

See also

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  1. 1 2 National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 3 "NRHP nomination for Three Fingers Lookout". National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  3. Loerch, Jessi (October 11, 2015). "Three Fingers fire lookout has a new roof, thanks to brave volunteers". The Everett Herald. Retrieved June 15, 2016.