Daniel Burnham’s Famous Mt. Wilson Observatory in Danger Due to California Wildfires


While it may be Daniel Burnham-palooza here in Chicago right now, the famous architect and urban planner isn’t fairing so well out west. The Mt. Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles, designed by Burnham’s firm in the early 1900s, is in serious jeopardy due to the annual out-of-control California wildfires. Although situations have improved since Monday’s dire predictions that the observatory might immediately become a lost cause and hopes that it will survive have risen, thus far there have only been slowdowns in the fire’s progress, meaning that Burnham’s building is still in harms way. Here’s a bit:

“Despite the fire’s sprawling dimensions, stretching up to 25 miles from east to west and 18 miles from north to south, aggressive ground and aerial assaults managed to confine the blaze to largely undeveloped areas,” the Times writes.

“And on the fire’s eastern flank, officials were still hoping a concerted effort to hack away tree limbs, cut fire breaks and lay down fire retardant would spare the Mt. Wilson Observatory and a key complex of communications towers used for over-the-air broadcasting by nearly 50 radio and television stations.”

Update: Looks like things have gotten even more positive this morning and the observatory may have escaped unscathed.