Klamath Indian Agency > Oregon Department of Forestry > Winema National Forest 34S-10E-8
1919: A telephone line was constructed to the summit late in the fire season.
October 21 & 22, 1919: "A lookout station had been established on Mt. Calamath, near the center of the Reservation.
April 29, 1920: "Authority is hereby granted for you to expend, during the current fiscal year 1920, from 'Expense account Timber' $500.00. In the employment of labor at not to exceed $6.00 per day without subsistence in construction of forest guard and lookout cabins - not to exceed $500.00. Approved April 29, 1920 (Authority from Department of the Interior to Superintendent Klamath Agency)
July 25, 1920: "Wire whether you will come Klamath Indian Reservation. Work to build lookout and guard cabin furnish your own tools and subsistence say six dollars a day. Christ Lund will assist you, West" (Western Union Telegram to J.C. Miller from Walter West, Superintendent Klamath Indian Agency)
1920: "In 1920 we built on reserved land a 16 x 16 Lookout on the summit of Calimus Butte with a second story tower of 12 x 12 with four sides glassed in and a 14 x 20 two room home cabin for the lookout at good grass and water about 2 1/2 miles south of the lookout. These buildings were no erected till about the end of the 1920 fire season so that ever since the telephone line was built to the top of the butte late in the fire season of 1919 the lookout maintained there had no shelter and had only a tent at grass and water below the mountain." (1920 Timber Operations Report, Klamath Agency)
1922: The Calimus lookout's forest guard cabin was completed at a cost of $350.00 and later assigned building number 632. The dimensions of this building were 14 x 20 feet.
February 26, 1923: "Our lookout is 16 feet square on the ground floor with a 12 foot square tower placed over one corner, the Forest Service plan calls for a tower 8 feet square and placed centrally. The small towers require roof complications and so are expensive and more likely to leak. Furthermore, we have found that the 12 foot tower is to small and so I would recommend a two story 16 feet square, that is that the tower be as big as the ground floor. Our lookout has been a married woman, who has lived in the lookout building with her two children. In any case I think you should have the lookout live day and night, week after week, in the lookout house. This would require that he or she have some sort of company, preferably a family and this necessitates extra bed space. The tower serves us for a bed room and would be better if 16 feet square. Our tower was built of lumber that we sawed at one of our U.S. mills and we kept no account of the lumber nor its cost. The carpenters were hired during the high post-war period. They were incompetent and deliberately prolonged the job. Therefore our costs would not help you and I will not give them. Please return plans when you are done with them." (Letter to N.O. Nicholson, Colville Agency from J.A. Howarth, Klamath Agency)
1923: "The principal item of new equipment purchased in 1923 was an Osborne Fire Finder installed on Calimus Butte. It is an improvement over our old method of locating by compass readings." (Annual Forestry Report, Klamath Agency, 1923)
October 15, 1924: "Charles Brophy who was in charge of the Calimus lookout last summer is in Chiloquin with his brother and family. He was a patient recently at Klamath Valley hospital as a result of an injury to his leg when on duty at the lookout." (The Klamath News)
March 10, 1925: "For lookout on our Calimus Butte: Mr. Charles C. Brophy, age 65 years; experience 1 1/2 years at that station. He knows the country and the people from years living and traveling in this section and has been accurate and prompt in reports of fire and above all he has the confidence of all our men and men of the surrounding forests that his reports of fires are really fires and not sheep dust, whirlwinds, locomotive stacks, sawmill smokes, etc. This is a very vital point as other men whom we have tried (even an experienced lookout) have cost us much money chasing phantom fires and have lost the confidence of the fire guards and others. We recommend the reappointment of Mr. Brophy this year, notwithstanding his age. He is depending on our assurance of last fall that he be our lookout again for 1925. Mr. Brophy has only one leg." (Recommendations to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs)
May 2, 1925: "Charles Brophy is at the Agency now until the time for him to resume his duties as watchman at Calimus fire lookout. He expects to go there in a few days. Brophy spent the winter in California and Rogue River Valley visiting various relatives." (The Klamath News)
July 20, 1925: "Early in the spring the Indian Office asked what were our plans for the 1925 fire season, -who we were to hire for lookouts, their ages, etc., and in our reply we told of Mr. Brophy's experience and that we had promised him the job for 1925. The office reply approved the plans, saying Mr. Brophy was too old but could be employed for 1925 since we promised him the job. I anticipate that they will rule him out for 1926. Mr. Brophy enjoys the work and there is no other work he can do with one leg. He doesn't look forward to being dependent on his relatives or others and I have not told him yet that the Indian Office might not consent to his being one of us next year. His physical ailments include poor circulation that resulted in losing one leg and we fear may any time lose him the second, and poor stomach which does not thrive on bachelor grub, so that he keeps in better health when not off by himself and economizing as he does up on the butte. Really, last winter I had my doubts whether his health might not go wrong this summer so that he could not go through the season on the lookout. But if we can keep his health then I want to be able to hire him for 1926." (Letter to J.F. Kimball, Klamath FPA from J.A. Howarth, Klamath Agency)
September 8, 1928: "Calimus Butte has reported 13 fires all but two of which were on the reservation. The two he reported off the reservation was on Association territory. Calimus Butte has handled on an average of 27 calls per day that require a switch. This was during the month of August. (Memorandum for the Superintendent)
May 25, 1929: "While a Herald reporter was in the office at the Agency yesterday, the telephone rang and John Colvard, lookout on Mt. Calimus, called in giving the figures, 3, 27, 20, of a smoke at an estimated distance of 30 to 35 miles. Immediately Allen F. Space, in charge of all fire control work at the Indian Agency, clapped his degree finder on his special map, turned it to the degree angle phoned in by the lookout, drew a line and measured off 35 miles by the map scale and found there should be a fire of some kind near the Pelican Bay logging camp. Thursday Mt. Calimus reported a fire in the direction of 267 degrees and 15 minutes. L.O. Wright of Mt. Scott got the range at 135 degrees and 40 minutes. Space drew the required lines on his map and where they intersected he judged the fire to be raging. Again the boys hit the nail on the head, locating the blaze at once. It was burning near the Buck Williams' place. The nearest fire guards were phoned and they soon appeared on the scene and put the fire out in no time. Since it happened in an area where there is no available timber, the only damage done was to burn up Alex Davis' cowpuncher's bed outfit and spare clothing, leaving him at the mercy of the spring winds. He had started the fire to cook his dinner over. Leaving it but a few minutes a sudden gust of wind came up and scattered the flames. But the quick work of the fire patrol saved the destructive elements from getting into the huge stand of pine in the Long Prairie unit owned by the Ewauna Lumber Company. Mr. Space stated that putting out the above by only two guards is considered very good work since at present very bad fire weather prevails. When a fire crew is ready to go out they find that other fast workers have been busy getting all necessities ready to take along. Grub lists are made up in 1,2,3, size assortments according to requirements. When a fire broke out last summer, Space phoned Ed Gowan's store at Sprague River, that a major order was needed. In one-half hour Gowan had supplies packed for 50 men who had only to grab it and rush on by toward the threatened area." (The Evening Herald)
June 8, 1929: "The lookout on Calimus reported on 10 fires thru the month of May including cross shots." (Memorandum for the Superintendent)
1929: "The lookouts located on the mountains do no dispatching and the road foreman should take no orders from the lookouts. The lookouts give to the dispatcher the information called for by him. The dispatcher at the Agency has a plotting table which he uses in plotting the location of the fires. He also has instruments at hand that tell him the daily and hourly condition of inflammability of the forest and ground cover. The dispatcher is at all times day and night in direct touch by telephone with the lookouts and road camps and is there to receive reports at any time on existing fires. The dispatcher will call for the dispatcher will be sent to the fire by the foreman in the shortest practical time." (Fire Instructions to Road Foreman 1929 Season)
July 8, 1929: "Calimus Butte has reported on 13 fires during the month of June of which 1 was on the Yawkey Tract, 1 on Long Bell, 4 on the Crater National forest and 7 on the Reservation." (Memorandum for the Superintendent)
1930: "The lookout on Calimus Butte was torn down and replaced with a new cupola structure during July." (FY Annual Forestry Report, Klamath Agency)
1930: The lookout house was completed at a cost of $541.99 and was later given building number 631. The 1944 evaluation survey notes that the cupola style house had linoleum flooring and plywood ceilings.
June 11, 1931: "A cupola house lookout is located at Calimus. The Calimus station is reached from the Williamson river road east of Chiloquin." (The Klamath News)
July 13, 1939: "At latest report the bulldozers and men in the Calimus Butte section had been moved around so as to prevent the fire from reaching a thick stand of timber on the butte. The lookout station on the butte was in danger Wednesday night, but Frank Coburn, lookout, was said to have been standing by." (Chiloquin Review)
July 13, 1939: "A forest fire, raging over 5000 acres of the Klamath Indian Reservation in the Saddle Mountain area, today jumped fire trails, surrounded the Calimus butte lookout and outstripped efforts of 600 men to control it. The forest lookout on the butte prepared to move out in the face of the onrushing flames." (The Bend Bulletin)
July 14, 1939: "A 5000-acre blaze on Calimus Butte, controlled earlier in the day leaped fire lines into a stand of virgin yellow pine. Humidity was low and an 18-mile wind was blowing. Frank Coburn, Calimus Butte lookout, reported the fire was moving in his direction but that he would not leave his station until he had to. The fire, moving fast, was less than two miles away. Between 500 and 600 men were on the fire line, after reinforcements of 400 arrived yesterday morning from Medford and Klamath district CCC camps. The fire threatened the Lone Pine CCC camp after jumping the Sprague river, but enrollees protected buildings." (The Oregon Statesman)
June 13, 1940: "The Klamath Reservation Fire Protection school was held at Lone Pine Camp June 10-11. Courses in fire fighting methods, use of fire equipment, fire organization and compass and map work were given by members of the Indian Service Forestry staff and CCC foremen. Instructions in telephones and telephone trouble shooting and short wave radio operations were also in the schedules. Twenty-three Klamath Reservation fire guards, lookouts, and CCC Indian Division foremen, leaders, and assistant leaders were in the classes. On the second day crews were organized from the Lone Pine CCC-ID camp and 65 men were put to work controlling practice fires near Calimus Butte lookout. Fire protection schools are conducted by Indian Service Forestry Branch on all Indian Reservations each spring. The local fire school was conducted by Harry Kallender, Senior Ranger fire chief on the reservation and Clinton Pierce, Junior Forester." (Chiloquin Review)
June 20, 1940: "Frank Coburn, veteran primary lookout at Calimus Butte has been on duty since May 15th." (Chiloquin Review)
May 14, 1942: "William Barfield is taking over the lookout work on Calimus Butte this week and will remain there until Frank Coburn takes over and then Barfield will go to Modoc Point lookout." (Chiloquin Review)
September 9, 1947: "Virtually all the special fire guards hired by Klamath Agency to assist in fire protection work on the Indian Reservation this summer will be dismissed tomorrow. Reese Taylor, reservation forestry chief, said that lack of funds was responsible for the shutdown. Only one lookout will be manned after today. That exception is the centrally-located Calimus Butte station, which commands a view of most of the reservation's forests. Taylor said that some special guards had been laid off in the past few days and that seven more would be taken off the payroll tomorrow, leaving only four special employees to help the regular fire crew. All KFPA lookouts in this area are still in operation." (Herald and News)
August 7, 1951: "At least 27 forest fires started by lightning over the weekend were under control today, Basin foresters reported. One fire yesterday near Sprague River burned over 35 acres before Indian Service fire suppression crews brought it under control, according to forest service dispatcher Vic Sisson. He reported that Sunday's fire total - 24 - was a new high for fires discovered on the reservation in one day. Every available man was put on firelines and smokechasing duty during the siege which followed seven thunderstorms Saturday night. Frank Coburn, veteran of 15 years as lookout, reported the electric storms were the worst he had ever seen. The Indian Service plane piloted by Richard Smith, Sisson said, spotted three fires. The plane was in the air for seven and a half hours yesterday alone, Sisson said." (Herald and News)
June 1, 1953: The lookout station was established as a station for the National Climatic Data Center.
January 1961: With the termination act, Calimus Butte lookout became the responsibility of the Klamath FPA to operate and maintain. (Klamath Tribune)
July 6, 1961: "Roy Wilson is at Calamas Butte, near Sprague River, as a lookout." (Herald and News)
September 24, 1965: "Efforts to track a German shepherd dog, believed to be the guide for an unidentified blind man who may be injured or dead in the wilds near Calimus Butte, resumed today in an area where a rancher reported hearing 'hysterical' cries on Wednesday. A search party composed of William E. Johns, director of Guide Dogs Inc., George Wardell, supervisor of KFPA, and Flint, a police dog trained in tracking, moved into the region about nine miles southwest of the butte to investigate the possibility that the cries may have been the owner of the dog. Johns said that Billy Snyder who first observed the mysterious black and white German shepherd dog wearing a handle harness, in the vicinity of the lookout tower September 15. Later other reports established that one day before the dog was observed a blind man and a guide dog were witnessed passing through the county in a station wagon driven by a young woman. Soon after the woman was again observed, driving the car, but without her blind companion. Searchers are working on the theory that the dog sited near Calimus Butte may be the property of the blind man seen in the car. Search teams operating on foot and from Helicopter at various times since Friday have failed to trace the guide dog bearing markings that would yield the identity of the owner. (Herald and News).
July 5, 1968: "George Wardell, supervisor of the KFPA, said the first lightning fire reported this year in the district was noted at 6:58 p.m. when the lookout at Calimus Butte observed a thin column of smoke about 5 1/2 miles northwest of the lookout tower." (Herald and News)
1969: The roof was stained and the windows were re-puttied.
1970: The inside and outside of the living quarters were painted, and a new toilet was installed.
1972: "Sixteen fires were reported from this station. A building, in the past, used as quarters for a fire crew, was torn down and disposed of. It had deteriorated badly and had become a haven for rodents. As it was no longer of any value and was very unsightly, its removal from the landscape improved the appearance of the site." (Klamath District, ODF, Annual Report)
1974: A new ceiling and windows were installed and the interior painted.
2005: During the month of July the red tile chimney was removed. Later in October new shutters were installed to replace the sheets of plywood that had been nailed over the windows to secure the structure for the winter, an accident in the fall of 2004, drew attention to safety when a crew member fell from the roof while securing the windows.
The NGS Data Sheet
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1933 (FGJ) THIS INTERSECTED POSITION IS THE CENTER OF THE U.S. INDIAN SERVICE WOOD HOUSE WILL LOOKOUT CUPOLA WHICH STANDS ON THE SUMMIT OF CALIMUS BUTTE, IN THE NW PART OF T. 34 S., R. 10 E., A LITTLE S OF THE CENTER OF THE KLAMATH INDIAN RESERVATION. THE HOUSE STANDS ON THE GROUND AND WAS BUILT IN 1930. A ROAD LEADS TO THE SUMMIT OF THE BUTTE.
STATION RECOVERY (1967)
RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1967 (CAA) STATION IS LOCATED ABOUT 17 MILES EAST-NORTHEAST OF CHILOQUIN, ABOUT 12 MILES NORTH-NORTHEAST OF SPRAGUE RIVER, ON TOP OF CALIMUS BUTTE AND JUST SOUTH OF TRIANGULATION STATION CALIMUS RM 2. IS A LOOKOUT HOUSE ATOP OF A 18 FOOT SQUARE LIVING QUARTERS AND ABOUT 25 FEET IN HEIGHT.