"The Split Rock Station (now referred to as Crown Prince Lookout) was activated on February 28, 1943. The station was designed by the Forest Service similar to their fire lookout towers to be 10 feet square primarily composed of windows and cedar shingle roof. The living quarters (an Army house trailer) were 50 feet below the station and accessed by a wooden stairway. The water tank had a 250 gallon capacity and sat on eight-foot stilts. And, a twenty foot pole to support a radio antenna. It remained on the peak for eighteen years until burned by vandals in 1961."Pat even had a photo in his files of the lookout station and adjacent antenna. How cool is that?? And perhaps even cooler... there is supposedly a second lookout location in the Park somewhere (future hike alert!!). Again, a huge thanks to Pat for providing this historical information.
Based on the above information, I'm pretty sure the mysterious 3' x 3' concrete block on top of the Crown Prince Lookout must have been used to support the 20' radio antenna. There are multiple anchor bolts surrounding the concrete block, and there is still a heavy support wire dangling off the edge of the lookout from the block. Side note: If you are up on the Lookout exploring this area, be very careful not to trip over this wire. It's a good 30' straight down to the rocks below!
Look closely and you will see a heavy wire hanging over the rocks. This wire is still attached to the concrete block.
This photo is near the concrete block, and does a better job illustrating how steep the drop-off is from up on top of the Lookout!
One point of confusion for me has to do with the old photo of the station that Pat found. The rock formations don't look like anything like what I've seen up on the Crown Prince Lookout. If the radio antenna was on the concrete block (as I suspect) and the station is next to it, the Crown Prince Lookout has a steep, straight drop-off. I wonder if this might be the second lookout location that Pat mentioned? Clearly, more research and future hikes will be necessary!!
Also of interest up on the Lookout is this piece of cement with a metal plate in the middle. Although a piece of the concrete is broken off so you can't see the full name, it's signed by "Mandersche... 1961" (you may have to enlarge the photo to see this). May be someone named Manderscheen? Mandersched? We may never know. There's a second signature in the concrete that's not as clear. The 1961 date is interesting. That's the year the station burned down and it stopped being operational. I can imaging the military coming in and cleaning up and removing everything following the fire. Perhaps Mandershe... was part of the clean up crew?
Here's a nice view from up on top of Crown Prince. You can see the concrete block and the distant hills and mountains in the background. I took a ton of photos on this hike, so let me share a few more with you. Most of the following were taken during the hike back.
Another shot from up on top before heading down!
|Yours truly... looking for that perfect shot!|
We had an in-depth discussion... Is it harder to climb up or down? I think the consensus was going down is easier. Either way, it's a steep climb!
|Golden light of late afternoon, AKA "the golden hour"!|
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