September 1, 1932: "Working in cooperation with the Pelican Bay Lumber Co., the Klamath Forest Protective Association has recently established a new lookout house on the summit of Horsefly mountain several miles southeast of Bly. This new lookout, working in conjunction with Yainax butte, will serve to give some excellent cross shots in parts of the country that are more or less hidden from Yainax." (The Forest Log)
September 21, 1932: "The new lookout station on Horsefly mountain is several miles southeast of Bly, and working in conjunction with Yainax butte lookout, will serve to give some excellent cross shot views in parts of that country that are more or less hidden from Yainax." (The Evening Herald)
October 13, 1932: "Construction of forest lookout station on summit of Horsefly mountain announced by Klamath Forest Protective association." (Medford Mail Tribune)
These panorama photos were taken from an open platform tower located on the south end of the mountain at the site of the KFPA lookout.
1934: A 14x14 L-4 lookout cabin constructed atop a 37-foot CT-3 eight legged sawn timber tower. Also a 16x18 wood frame garage built by CCC labor at a total cost of $1,421.38. The fire finder is a #8 Osborne with vertical scale.
February 1, 1936: "On November 4, 1935, we started getting telephone poles for the completion of the Horsefly Mountain telephone line. At that time there was about ten miles of the line complete, so cutting and peeling of the poles not a small matter, as they had to be cut near Finley Corrals in order to secure lodgepole pine of the proper diameter and length. These were all cut in about one foot of snow, and at that time the mercury was we4ll down around the zero mark, and below. The poles were hauled into camp each day as they were cut, and have been distributed along the line since. Then came the construction. At the time we started this the ground was bare, and the weather fairly pleasant, but weather conditions have certainly changed, and now at the close of our fourth mile of construction we are working in two feet of snow, and the work of setting a pole has practically doubled. In order that we may be able to do this at the present time it is necessary to clean all the snow away over a space of six to eight feet across, and then we ready to dig the hole, which under ordinary conditions could be started from ground level. Of course, stringing the wire, putting the insulators on etc., has all developed into quite a chore on account of the depth of the snow, but this article is not to wail and moan about deep snow, and unfavorable construction conditions, but is only put in to emphasize the fact that I never heard a member of my crew curse the weather or offer a word of complaint, no matter how tough the going has been. This is something I can appreciate, and in this way I wish to thank the boys for their splendid behavior, and for the cheerful way in which they have carried the work on.." by Earl Foster (The Bly Snowdrift, CCC)
August 1936: "Ten enrollees assembled in the camp library where Mr. Clouston explained the purpose and importance of lookouts and instructed them in the art of map reading. At 9:30 that same morning, the class journeyed to Horsefly Lookout where the different duties were explained and practical problems demonstrated." (Camp Bly Camp Log CCC)
September 21, 1939: "Two fires were reported after a severe lightning and rain storm." (Lake County Examiner)
1940: The lookout was established as a fire-weather station. The observer took readings at 7 am, 12 noon and 4 pm, at 4:15 the readings were called into the Bly station.
1956: The air marking number for this station was "F-13"
1959: From an inspection report made by the Regional Office of Engineering on September 9th. "The lookout tower is an 8-legged sawn timber tower, 37 feet in height. The house is the 14x14 size. Tower and house were constructed by CCC project in 1934. The inspection found the lookout premises and the house living quarters in clean and orderly condition. Deficiencies: The east sills are rotted and the middle leg is sinking into the sill. The stairs are rickety. Splits and checks at bolt holes throughout the frame. Shingles worn down to less than one-half original thickness. Chimney projects above the lightning protection. Window glass has ripples and bubbles. Tower and house in general worn out condition. Comments: There are probably some failings in the design which shortened the life of the structure. This design is no longer being used. While this structure is not labeled unsafe for use, it is worn out. Most of the wood is weak and no longer holds nails properly. Recommendations: Replace the tower and house as soon as financing can be arranged.
1960: A letter to the Forest Supervisor from the Bly District Ranger dated November 16th: Horsefly lookout was visited and inspected 11/15/60 and the following findings would seem to justify the need for replacement. 1. This station is one of our principal lookouts for the detection of fires both for the National Forest and also for other Cooperative Agencies who contribute to the detection funds. The seen area disk attached will indicate the coverage given. 2. The present tower height of 37 feet seems to be adequate to cover the desired area. The cabin should be 14x14 to accommodate living facilities. It would seem advisable if steel towers of this type are available to put steel rather than wood due to the need for less maintenance and a longer period of use. 3. An increment borer was used to test the structure and it was found that many evidence of dry rot was prevalent in the footings and other structural material. 4. The original stair risers are almost completely gone by checking, splitting and decay and as a safety precaution fir 2x12 pieces were scabbed on to the risers several years ago which is only a more or less temporary respite. The stair tread is also in a poor state of repair. 5. Catwalk and railings have been repaired to the point that they no longer will hold nails for any length of time. 6. This tower was built in 1935 and due to the age, use and weather the shutters have deteriorated, been blown off from pulling loose from the plates of the house which in turn has left large cracks in the corners and the windows. 7. Shingles and roofing are gone to the point that the building leaks and the shingles are generally weathered and very thin. Also leaks around the roof jack which is also beyond repair. 8. Other buildings at this site consist of a garage and toilet which if funds are not available to replace could be made to give a few more years of service.
1960: A December 7th letter from the Forest Supervisor to the Regional Forester: "Horsefly lookout is an 8-legged sawn timber tower of untreated Ponderosa Pine 37 feet in height. The tower and house were constructed by CCC in 1934. The stairway from the parking area to the tower is new and in excellent condition. It consists of step with 11” rise per step, with 11” tread x 2’ in width. The stairway of the tower is in poor condition. It is caged. Much of the wood in the stairway is rotten and deteriorated. The stair tread second from top is hazardous and should be replaced before occupation. Further reinforcement by nailing or bolting is inadvisable due to the poor wood condition. The concrete footings are constructed of a poor grade material and are cracked, chipped and badly spalled. Aggregate is exposed to weathering. The wooden sills on the footings are rotten as proven by borings. The point of loading of the sills shows structural failure as deflection is extreme. The vertical and diagonal members did not evidence rot by borings. Most of the tower structure, however, is badly weathered and checked, particularly at bolt holes. Rot is merely a matter of time since through the checks and bolt holes the members are more subject to damp and dry cycles. The structural members were not preservative treated, nor painted. The 4 – 5/8” guys were sound and well tied. The 14x14 cabin is in poor structural condition. It is not “tight” and shows its years and wear. Floor is worn and in bad need of refinishing. The door does not fit, probably a condition attributed to building settlement. The catwalk and railings have been repaired to a point that they will no longer hold nails. It is unsound and flimsy. The shutters have deteriorated and have blown off the building, resulting in a loosening of the cabin structure. The attic evidence no sign of major weathering or leaking. However, several small leaks were detected. The roof is shingled with red-cedar shingles which are approximately ½ the original thickness. Roof is the hip roof type construction. The ceiling sags in places and is pulled loose from joists at the walls. The window glass is satisfactory except for a broken pane. This needs replacement. The individual panes measure 13x24. Window sash and frames are sound except for space between top of window and cap. Corner connectors between tower and house are made of 3/8” angle iron. These are loose and poorly connected. The lookout had been vacated and closed for the year. It would be desirable to perform some maintenance and general cleanup before summer if it must be occupied regardless of hazard. It is a must to render the stairs safe before occupancy. Horsefly lookout tower is considered unsafe for occupancy, particularly during high winds. Due to the dilapidated condition of this structure rendering it unsafe for occupancy, we recommend replacement immediately. It should be replaced with a tower of the nearly same height of 37 feet with a 14x14 combination lookout and living quarters. Horsefly is a principal lookout for the detection of fires both on the National Forest and for other cooperative agencies.
1961: The new lookout tower and cabin were constructed.
1962: An administrative visit to the lookout on August 21st notes: Visited Horsefly, a new tower and observatory. Francis Alvord a professional lookout on duty. He keeps clean and orderly quarters, was very alert and is a good lookout. The tower needs wire on landings, stair rails and catwalk guard rail. Inside, four of the roof beams or rafters are badly checked. These are double beams so perhaps this is not too serious, but why do we get such faulty material in open type beams? It detracts from the appearance of a new structure. They have a very good looking weather station at this point. Someone takes pride in their work.
1972: Observations noted on the 1972 lookout condition survey report: "The John of the Horsefly lookout needs relocating. The toilet seat needs replacing. The garage is in fair condition. The doors of the garage need to be reworked, or replaced. The guy wires need to be reworked, there is too much sag; there is approximately two feet of sag, and no way to take it up. There are some cracks in the ceiling joists. The ceiling joists with the diagonal split need reinforcing. Some of the floor tiles are cracked. The wood stove needs to be grounded. The wood stove does need a stove pipe damper. The fire finder, stove and refrigerator needs grounding. Some of the trim is pulling out, it should be renailed with a ring type nail. The exterior of the cab needs painting. Windows of the tower should be caulked or weather proofed, particularly the fixed windows. You can see daylight through a crack over the windows. There is some checking at the ends of the structural members of the tower where the bolt goes through. Part of this could be due to loose guys which allow excessive racking during wind conditions. Some of the steps to the cab are split and should be replaced. This tower has received a fairly heavy ice load.
1981: "Grounding cables need to be attached to stakes and put in earth. Loose connections on grounding cables." These are comments after a lightning protection inspection.
1999: An OSHA inspection on September 29 found numerous violations. Some of the violations include: no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, refrigerator and stove not grounded, handrails are 36” instead of 42” as required, wire screen on stairs and guard rails not grounded, wood stove pipe does not have 2” clearance from flammable material and several other items.
National Geodetic Survey
DESIGNATION - HORSEFLY MOUNTIAN LOOKOUT TOWER PID - NY0883 STATE/COUNTY- OR/KLAMATH COUNTRY - US USGS QUAD - HORSEFLY MOUNTAIN (1988) STATION DESCRIPTION
DESCRIBED BY US FOREST SERVICE 1979 THE LOOKOUT TOWER WAS RECOVERED BUT IT IS NOT CERTAIN IF THIS IS THE SAME TOWER THAT WAS THERE IN 1948. THE ROOF IS NOT PEAKED AS EARLIER DESCRIBED BUT IS RELATIVELY FLAT. THE DISTANCE FROM STATION HORSEFLY TO THE CENTER OF THE TOWER DIFFERS BY 1.77 FEET AND THE AZIMUTH DIFFERS BY 20 DEGREES. THE FIRST STEP OF THE TOWER IS NOW DIRECTLY OVER STATION HORSEFLY. IN ALL PROBABILITY THE TOWER WAS REBUILT IN THE APPROXIMATE SAME POSITION. U.S. FOREST SERVICE PERSONAL IN BLY COULD NOT CONFIRM THIS ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. THE STATION IS ON HORSEFLY MOUNTAIN LOCATED ABOUT 10 MILES SOUTH OF BLY. IT IS A 4 LEGGED WOODEN STRUCTURE ABOUT 80 FEET HIGH.