1941: The lookout was staffed 89 days and reported to the Redwood Ranger Station.
1953: The lookout was destroyed during a strong wind storm. Fifty years later much of the debris still clutters the hill side.
LITTLE GRAYBACK MOUNTAIN
Oregon Department of Forestry
August 2007 - Ron Kemnow photo
1980: "Construction began on Little Grayback Lookout on July 1. Total completion is expected by the beginning of the 1981 fire season. It is located on Little Grayback Ridge which is about 8 miles east of Cave Junction. Approximately 900 man hours were put into its construction thus far. Materials for the lookout were flown in by Forest Service helicopter. A lot of the materials were acquired from the old Waldo Mountain lookout. The new lookout provides better detection coverage than Waldo." (Southwest Oregon District Annual Report, 1980)
Siskiyou National Forest
May 22, 1931: "In an effort to combat fire hazards more successfully, authorization has been given to build a lookout post at this location." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 1931: "Ranger Cooper and I were out on Mt. Reuben a few days ago and selected a site for the Mt. Reuben lookout-fireman cabin. The site is within a quarter of a mile of the Mt. Reuben road and commands an excellent view of the country on the south side of Rogue River to the summit of the Illinois-Rogue River Divide." (The Siskiyou Bulletin)
June 28, 1931: "A fire patrol lookout station is being established on Mount Reuben, eight miles due west of Glendale, located within the Siskiyou national forest reserve. A seven-mile telephone line connecting the new lookout station with the lines extending down the Rogue river from Galice to Agness is now under construction by the forestry service. The new line is being built down Whiskey creek and will connect with the present line at White Neck." (The Sunday Oregonian - footnote 1)
1931: A 30-foot tower with an R-1 style cab was constructed.
May 1940: "Past fire danger records show that this point has been manned very early in June for two out of three years, and has not been taken off until the last of September in all three years. Very dry section -- 61% of all readings in July and August for past three years lie between 5% and 8%." (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
1951: A new lookout was constructed.
Oregon Department of Forestry - 37S-6W-31
no date - Nomeca Hartwell Photo
1961: A 30-foot timber tower with an Amort style lookout house constructed.
1989: The lookout received a new metal roof.
2007: The lookout was declared unsafe and staffing was terminated.
2010: In the spring, the lookout was burned. This tower had been declared unsafe in 2007.
1940: A one mile spur trail was completed to the lookout.
May 1940: "Provides coverage of inaccessible areas. (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
1941: An L-4 lookout house was constructed.
1941: The lookout was staffed 100 days and reported to the Agness Ranger Station.
Siskiyou National Forest - 39S-6W-19
August 2007 - Ron Kemnow photo
1940: A fireman station with an Alidade.
May 1940: "Seen area covers principally lightning country. Position not on road, hence suppression coverage somewhat restricted." (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
Rogue River National Forest -
1942 - Rogue River National Forest Collection
1916: "On Steve Peak a call bell was established at the observer's camp. In case of emergency the observer could be called to the 'phone at any time when he was not on top. The Steve Peak observer was called to his phone and upon arrival was unable to learn who had called him. The cause of this false alarm was crossed wires and the ringing of a number on another line was mistaken by the observer for his ring. It might be possible to require the observer to live on top and carry water from the spring for his needs; but to utilize all his time he should not be required to do this work, but be provided with a tank filled from the melting snow. The lookout was furnished with a pocket box compass with a two inch needle. Far from being very accurate at any distance." (The Fire Lookout System on the Crater National Forest, Harold Foster, 1916)
August 31, 1918: "A fresh forest fire on Steve's Fork of Carberry Creek near Steamboat in the Applegate district, which has been burning for several days, and which now covers 1,000 acres, was fanned by a high wind which arose yesterday into a swift spreading and traveling conflagration. So fast did the fire travel that Dr. Barker, the retired physician of Jacksonville who is the lookout at the forest lookout station on Steve's Peak, had barely time to escape with his life. He saw flames coming up the mountain at some distance away and seizing a few personal effects ran with all his might for a mile or more to safety. The flames reached the lookout station a moment after his departure and destroyed it and all its contents. As yet this forest fire has not gotten into heavy timber." (Mail Tribune)
September 5, 1918: "The big forest fire that started in brush in the Carberry Creek-Stevens peak section several days ago, has spread into huge proportions and reached heavy timber. It has spread in length as far as Swan Valley which is 8 to 10 miles west from Stevens Peak. The lookout at the peak, who was forced to flee when the fire started and spread so fast, and who returned to the station later, telephoned today that the peak was surrounded on all sides by fire and that he could not get away if he wanted. He has supplies and of course is now in no danger because of the fire in its rush having burned over everything in the vicinity of the peak." (Mail Tribune)
July 12, 1933 Panorama photos taken By: Albert Arnst & Reino Sarlin
September 12, 1933: "The Camp Applegate CCC's started work on the Steve's Peak lookout." (Medford Mail Tribune)
Siskiyou National Forest - 41S-6W-1
May 1940: "Provides seen area and, primarily, suppression coverage in the SE corner of the district. Lightning is the only risk. In general, Bolan Peak provides adequate detection but cannot see an area covered by this point. Should usually be needed only for a restricted period." (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
Siskiyou National Forest - 39S-9W-1
November 1931: "After our heavy storm we are trying to catch up on our improvement work as we are getting a rest on fires. The Tennessee Mountain road and telephone line are now under construction, when road and line are completed we will have an Emergency Lookout that will be of great value during times of poor visibility and in the spring before other lookouts are on." (The Siskiyou Bulletin)
June 1932: "On June 9 the Tennessee Lookout saw lightning strike in the vicinity of Merlin, some twenty-five miles away. Six minutes later smoke was picked up where the strike was seen. Guard detection, we claim, helps some on the hour control." (The Siskiyou Bulletin)
July 1932: "The new Tennessee Mountain Lookout station made an excellent place for training the sixteen lookouts who attended the guard school. The fire finder is mounted in the open and has a railed platform surrounding it. Several smokes in Illinois Valley gave the men opportunity to try out their ability at locating and reporting actual fires." (The Siskiyou Bulletin)
April 3, 1934 Panorama photos taken By: James Rittenhouse & Albert Arnst
1937: The road to the lookout, started in 1936, was completed.
May 1940: "Excellent seen area over an area that has a very high expectancy of man-caused fires in the settlements, particularly S and SE or Redwood R.S. Position should be manned very early in the fire season, and past records indicate that it has been so manned. Its suppression coverage is not a factor since this can be well taken care of out of Redwood R.S. Suggested dates are conservative and represent more of an average condition. Opening dates prior to May 15 should be handled by an emergency guard." (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
1941: The lookout was staffed 135 days and reported to the Redwood Ranger Station.
October 16, 1943: AWS Station 'Mike 9-7' was inactivated with recommendations to retain. No AWS improvements were involved. (Report of Aircraft Warning Service Stations, May 1, 1944)
Siskiyou National Forest > State - 40S-8W-33
1944 - Siskiyou National Forest (S.O.)
August 2007 - Ron Kemnow photo
1940: A 20-foot Port Orford cedar sawn timber tower with an L-4 post 1936 cab was constructed.
May 1940: "Excellent seen area that is complementary to that from Tennessee Mountain. There is some duplication between the two points but Waldo Hill fills a big hole in which numerous fires occur in a high value area. Position should be manned simultaneously with Tennessee Mountain." (Plans. Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
June 29, 1956: "Dear Martin, I want to thank you on behalf of the Forest Service for the courtesy you showed us recently during our annual guard training camp. The four days that were spent at Waldo in training our lookouts must have disrupted your routine considerably. Your patience under such conditions is very much appreciated. As you know it is difficult for us to use one of our own lookout stations for this training due to the distance involved and for that reason with yours and John Moss' cooperation we have conducted the training at Waldo. I hope your fire finder is finally leveled again and that you have a good season. Thanks again for your help. District Ranger" (Letter to the lookout, Waldo from District Ranger, USFS)
1980: The tower was dismantled and the timbers flown to Little Greyback to be used in the construction of a new lookout station at that point.
Rogue River National Forest
1945 - Rogue River National Forest Collection
1923: A telephone line was constructed from the Oregon Caves to Whiskey Peak.
1924: Floyd Murray and others cut materials at the Medford warehouse for the lookout house that he constructed on Whiskey Peak.
October 11, 1929: "The lookout cabin at Whiskey Peak was destroyed by fire Sunday, caused by fire starting near the flue. Cal Winningham, lookout man, tried hard to put out the fire but wood which is stored inside caught on fire, making it impossible. The government loss was $1,000 and Mr. Winningham lost his clothing and bedding. Whiskey Peak is about eight miles from the Steamboat road." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 20, 1930: "Cal Winningham was stationed at Whiskey Peak. Mr. Winningham is living in a tent as the lookout was burned down last fall. He is trimming the trail so lumber can be packed to the top od the peak. The Forest Service expects to start building the new house in July." (Medford Mail tribune)
June 27, 1930: "Forest Service will begin work next week on the new lookout that is being constructed on Whiskey Peak since the old one was destroyed last fall by fire. It is to have a concrete floor and Tom Bigsby from Eagle Point will pack the sand and gravel from Big Applegate to the top of the peak." (Medford Mail Tribune)
July 23, 1930: "New forest lookout stations are being erected on four peaks in the Crater national forest this month, forest officials announce. The buildings which arrive here ready made from service headquarters in Portland." One of these buildings is to be placed on Whiskey Peak. (Morning Oregonian - see footnote 1)
July 25, 1930: "Work was started by the national forest service on the new lookout station on top of Whiskey Peak to take the place of the one destroyed last year by fire. Garold Buck is running the caterpillar tractor and trailer hauling sand and gravel from the bed of Big Applegate up to the end of the road, where Tom Bigsby continues with pack horses to the top. The new house is to have a concrete floor. Cal Winningham, the new lookout for the forest service is living in a tent while the new house is being constructed." (Medford Mail tribune)
October 3, 1930: "The new Whiskey Peak lookout building has been completed, but was a little late for this season. Cal Winningham, the lookout man, was taken off duty this week. He remained on top of the mountain, however, to paint the new house." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 7, 1936: "James McLean, 20, of Hillsboro, Ore., a forest service lookout, stationed at Whiskey Peak, in the upper reaches of the Applegate, yesterday afternoon was shot in the left leg by the accidental discharge of a .22 caliber rifle. The weapon was behind the lookout station door. When McLean closed the door, the rifle fell to the floor and was discharged. The bullet struck McLean near the knee and coursed upwards. McLean applied a tourniquet, and dressed his would, then telephoned for aid. The attending physician said there was a possibility McLean had sustained a severed major nerve center, and a large artery." (News-Review)
August 14, 1936: "James MacLean, forestry student at Oregon state college who has been confined at Community hospital with a bullet wound in his left leg, showed a turn for the worse last night and his father, A. MacLean of Hillsboro, was again called to the city. Because of lack of circulation, gangrene has shown evidence of developing and it might become necessary to amputate the leg midway between the knee and ankle, the attending physician said. MacLean was shot accidentally a week ago yesterday at the remote Whiskey Peak fire lookout station at the head of the Applegate River on the Rogue River National Forest where he was employed for the summer. As he was about to leave the lookout house the door swung wide and knocked over a .22 caliber rifle standing behind it. The gun discharged and the bullet pierced his leg above the knee, puncturing a sheath containing the sciatic nerve, a vein and artery." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 21, 1936: "Jim Arnold of Oak Grove district has taken charge at Whiskey Peak lookout for the remainder of the fire season. Mr. Arnold succeeds two CCC men from Camp Applegate who assumed the post temporarily following the gun accident two weeks ago in which lookout James MacLean was seriously injured." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 10, 1938: "Larry Kaiser, student at Southern Oregon Normal School, will be accompanied by his bride at Whiskey Peak Lookout. Thursday he was united in marriage to Margaret Franks of the Applegate." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 24, 1938: "Orie Phillips, employed as forest service packer here, established Mr. and Mrs. Larry Kaiser on their post at Whiskey Peak during the last few days." (Medford Mail Tribune)
1942: "The two man team of Paul Stibran and Bill Zeigler manned the lookout during the winter as AWS observers. Bill's dog Two-Bits fell off Whiskey Peak two or three times during the winter, but survived to die of old age." (The History of the Rogue River National Forest, Vol. 2)
January 26, 1943: " 'Two Bits' chased an imaginary squirrel too close to the edge of a cliff, barked for help as he skidded and then fell over the ledge, a drop of 800 feet straight down. The little fox terrier's master, Bill Ziegler, observer at a lookout station on the Rogue River National Forest, gasped at the tradedy. Two weeks later Ziegler started down the trail to cut a pole, and just around the first curve was amazed to see 'Two Bits' climbing slowly and shakily up the trail, head down and tongue out, but with his tail wagging. After a happy reunion and a good meal, 'Two Bits' did his best to explain that his fall had been cushioned by a deep snowdrift, that he had finally dug himself out and then negotiated the drift-choked two-and-a-half mile trail back home." (The Salt Lake Tribune)
September 12, 1969 Panorama photos taken By: C.S.
Siskiyou National Forest - 36S-10W-36
September 2007 - Ron Kemnow photo
May 1940: "Seen area takes in lightning country and some man-caused fires on Briggs Creek. Suppression coverage is not extensive. Seen area along Illinois River is valuable since this is a heavily used mining area." (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)
1941: The lookout was staffed 90 days and reported to the Redwood Ranger Station.
Siskiyou National Forest
May 1940: "Position only needed during lightning season. Past 10-year lightning history indicates for its seen area that lightning fires are relatively few and far between." (Plans, Guard Placement, Siskiyou National Forest)