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The first road to Mauna Loa Observatory was built in November, 1951. A cinder bond road was constructed up to the 9,300 ft level, above which a very rough 4-wheel drive road led to the summit. The U.S. Weather Bureau, with the cooperation of the Territorial Department of Institutions, constructed a small 8 x 10 ft. observatory building near the summit at the 13,455 ft level.

Construction of the observatory building.

On December 12, 1951 a group of 26 men traveled to the summit location, amidst a snowstorm, to dedicate the observatory.

Dedication ceremony
Dedication ceremony of the summit observatory.
Saul Price
Saul Price at the dedication of the summit weather station.

The Weather Bureau began a program of collecting data from four locations along the mountain slope; 5,180 ft, 8,300 ft, 11,500 ft, and 13,455 ft. Standard Weather Bureau instruments were used to obtain recordings of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and rainfall. Because of the very arduous trip that was necessary to service these stations, several attempts were made to adapt the instruments to operation over a one month period. Regrettably these efforts were not very successful. Only sporadic records are available during the period of operation from December, 1951 to June, 1954, when the data collection was discontinued and the station was abandoned.

Summit Site
Mauna Loa Observatory at the summit.