July 20, 1915: "The department is building a telephone line from the summit of Mary's Peak to the cabin at the water intake in Benton County. It is the intention to have a lookout man on the summit of the mountain." (The Morning Oregonian)
July 22, 1915: "Announcement was made today by State Forester Elliott, that a telephone line, being built from Mary's peak, in Benton county, to connect with the line of the Corvallis water department, will be completed in a few days. This will enable the lookout to be stationed on the peak, to report promptly all fires he may discover in that county and in Lincoln county." (La Grande Observer)
January 4, 1917: "The Government maintains a lookout station on the mountain top for the Forest Service. Mary's Peak is in the heart of the Coast Range, with excellent fishing and hunting grounds all about it." (The Oregonian)
May 30, 1920: "Mary's peak in Benton also may be used as a lookout station during a portion of the season, says Mr. Oglesby. It is connected by telephone with Corvallis." (The Oregonian)
July 30, 1935 "A special Washington dispatch to the Oregonian today said that Mary's Peak, one of the highest points in the Willamette Valley, may be purchased by the Forest Service for recreational development. Senator Charles L. McNary was said to be interesting himself in the project." (News-Review - Roseburg)
1937: Ken Burkholder was the first lookout on the peak. The lookout consisted of a tent camp and a fire finder mounted on a crude tri-pod. (From a December 2005 interview with Mr. Burkholder)
August 1937: "A lookout station was recently established on the summit of Mary's Peak by the Forest Service. This mountain lies within the forest area that was purchased last year by the National Reservation Commission and made a part of the Siuslaw National Forest. Plans at the present time are to develop it into a recreational area with special emphasis placed on winter sports." (The Forest Log)
June 1, 1940: "Siuslaw forest officials, whose headquarters are in Eugene, visited the 4000-foot peak 23 miles west of Corvallis and said today a 10-mile stretch of road to the summit would soon be completed. The extension leaves the Alsea highway as it crosses the summit of the range. The road up the mountain will be utilized by loggers as well as pleasure seekers and a combination lookout and observation building will be constructed at the top. Parking space for 500 cars will be provided." (Klamath News)
August 1940: "A CCC truck trail will be completed this summer to the summit of Marys Peak, the highest mountain in the Coast Range." (The Forest Log)
June 17, 1941: "Action was taken which turned over virtually the entire summit of Mary's peak to the federal government's forestry service. The city deeded 40 acres on the summit where the Siuslaw forest plans to erect a lookout tower and leased an additional 400 acres for a period of 40 years. The lease covers the remainder of the grass land on the mountain top and some portions of timbered area around the fringe of the summit." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
1941: "The road to the summit of Mary's Peak, begun in the summer of 1938, was completed in the fall of 1941. Both CCC and WPA crews were employed on this work, under the immediate direction of foreman Clayton R. Barclay. In connection with the development of improvements on the summit, the City of Corvallis donated to the government the NW 1/4 NW 1/4 of Sec. 28, Twp. 12 S, R. 7 W. and leased to the government its other lands on the summit." (A History of the Siuslaw National Forest)
July 3, 1941: "Construction of a public observation tower and fire lookout house on the tip-top of Mary's peak will start as soon as the materials can be carried to the summit, Dahl Kirkpatrick, Siuslaw National forest supervisor, said today. The structure will be 30 feet square at the base and three stories high and will afford an excellent view in all directions from the top of the mountain. Several designs were turned down before plans were finally accepted, aimed at providing an attractive and at the same time serviceable building. The tower will be made of logs and rustic siding. The first story will be put up merely to give the building additional height and will contain a large storage space. The second floor will be the public observation section, 20 feet square with large glass windows on all sides and surrounded by a six foot wide walk. Atop this will be the standard 14 by 14 fire lookout tower. About the biggest part of the job, Kirkpatrick said, will be to get the materials to the summit, with most of the work expected to be accomplished by a small tractor pulling a trailer. Forest service workmen are now engaged in construction of the camp ground in the timber just below the grass summit area on the southwest slope of the mountain. The Mary's peak tower will be manned by fire lookouts as soon as it is completed, and lookouts are being sent this week to all the various stations in the Siuslaw area." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
August 20, 1941: "This morning construction of the forest service lookout on the summit was started, and within two weeks this will be about completed. Include in the structure atop the peak will be a glass inclosed lookout for patrons. Last Sunday 550 persons signed the registry book at the parking space provided for motor cars, about 300 feet below the summit." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
September 18, 1941: "Work on the forest lookout and public observation room atop the peak is progressing slowly due to a cut in CCC ranks, which is doing the work. Many people are motoring to the summit, and it is expected more will use the road this fall, 'when the clouds toll away.' " (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
1942: A garage was constructed.
November 7, 1945: "The Siuslaw National forest has closed its lookout station atop Mary's peak and no definite word of depth of snow on the mountain was available. However it was estimated the fall there probably varied from one to two feet." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
December 29, 1946: "Vandals have been causing considerable destruction of government property in the park area on the summit of Mary's peak, according to Siuslaw National Forest Supervisor Fred Furst, and unless the practice is curbed it may become necessary to close the road leading to the top except at times when guards are on duty in the park area. Furst said most of the damage had been done with guns and consisted mostly in wanton shooting out of windows in rest rooms and in the forest lookout station. Broken windows in the lookout have allowed rain and snow to enter, warping the floor. Twenty-three out of 30 windowpanes in one rest room have been shot out and the initials F.G. shot into the walls. All water faucets from the water system in the camping area have been stolen." (The Sunday Oregonian)
September 26, 1956: "Reference is made to previous discussions with Mr. DiBenedette and to our 1955 request for replacement for the Mary's Peak lookout structure. Ranger Resler has submitted the attached sketch as a proposal for replacement, and the enclosed copy of Forester Ellson's memorandum appears to cover some good and practical thinking along that line. We know that the State is using concrete block construction in a number of their newer lookouts as a means of cutting down maintenance. The West Lane Fire Patrol Association has three scheduled for next year. We would like to have Mr. DiBenedette's consideration of this proposal and his suggested plan. We favor a three-level structure such as is now in use but we do wonder if it would not be practical to provide a 36 inch overhang to eliminate the need for hinged shutters. Individual bonded plywood shutters could be provided which could be handled by one man. All local terrain is below the level of this station, therefore high window visibility is no great object." (Letter from Regional Forest to Supervisor, Siuslaw N.F.)
August 23, 1957: Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the Forest Service transferred 5.41 acres to be used for an unmanned Gap Filler Radar facility and the pertinent improvements were constructed.
June 3, 1959: "Smoke ascending from the summit of Mary's Peak yesterday afternoon wasn't from signal fires of Chintimini, the Indian maiden for who the mountain originally was named. It was smoke marking the funeral pyre of the old forestry service lookout which has topped the peak for years. The lookout tower was 22 years old and was constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps crews. Forest officials said at the time it was built no preservative materials were used on the wood and that it had simply rotted out over the years. A new simple structure is scheduled to replace the old one. Originally it had been planned to make the lookout tower a multiple purpose affair, serving other agencies in various ways as well as the forest service, but these proposals fell through. By July 1 at least some type of temporary lookout will be available for use during the fire season, forest officials said." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
July 24, 1959: "Because the costs of the Bonneville structure were beyond the reach of the forest service the one building idea was dropped. Now the forest service is proceeding to construct its own lookout and observation tower on its land. Bonneville apparently plans to go ahead with another building only a short distance away. Already under construction in the same area is an Air Force radar gap-filler station." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
July 27, 1959: "The Bonneville power Administration has staked a claim to part of the top of Mary's peak, but its rights are being challenged by the U.S. Forest Service. Under fire by Corvallis City Manager John F. Porter for failure to get together with the Siuslaw National Forest for a single building to house a forest service lookout and a BPA micro-wave station, Bonneville has posted a sign claiming about a 100 by 100-foot area on a 40-acre tract controlled by the Bureau of Land Management on top of the Coast Range mountain 20 miles west of here. Pete Foils, assistant to the supervisor of Siuslaw, said the Forest Service will protest the right of Bonneville to occupy the tract. Porter has already opposed granting BPA a permit to the area." (The Oregonian)
August 18, 1959: "Modified plans for the joint construction of a lookout and radar installation on Mary's Peak west of here were being considered today by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bonneville Power Administration. Officials of the two agencies are to visit the site atop the 4100-foot high coast range mountain soon to determine whether tentative plans can be carried out. Spokesmen revealed the possibility of construction of the BPA radio installation alongside a 21-foot high forest service lookout tower on the mountain top. Work on the lookout already has started. It is expected to be completed next fall. The two federal agencies had clashed over proposed plans for the installations. At first, both installations were to be housed in one building. The forest service turned down the plan as too expensive. An Air Force radar facility already is located on the peak. The city of Corvallis has protested the proposed plans. The city charged the installations would 'clutter up' the mountain top. Contamination of the city's 7000-acre watershed on the east slope of the mountain also is feared." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
July 1, 1961: The Air Defense Command declared the site as excess property and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Defense and the Forest Service was terminated. The remaining improvements became property of the Forest Service.
October 1962: The cab was destroyed.
1972: The last year that the lookout was staffed.
The lookout tower was removed.
1996: The last Gap Filler structure was removed and the foundations were used for a new radio transmitter facilty.