Forest Fire Lookouts in the North Cascades: From Utilitarian Sentry to Writer's Refuge
Wessinger, Joseph Cannon
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Beginning in the early 1900s, forest fire lookouts were constructed atop mountains throughout the west in an effort to eradicate forest fires. Each summer, operators in the isolated spaces had the opportunity to become intimately connected to their local environments, places often of inspiring beauty and nuance that only lengthy occupation could fully reveal. Authors who spent time in them, especially Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac in the 1950s, used the quiet shelters as meditative spaces in which to write. As the lookout typology and profession are slowly lost, new structures can restore the opportunity for future generations to become familiar with these wild spaces. At the former Devils Dome Lookout site in the North Cascades, a series of three writers spaces for an author-in-residence program inspire collaboration and are inspired by the individual ways in which the environment can be experienced.
- Architecture