Early in the 1920's a 50-foot round pole tower with a windowless cab of non-standard construction was erected.
October 1925: "Extracts from diary of Floyd Orr, Fireman-Lookout, Russell Mtn., Whitman National Forest. July 10th. Went from Halfway to Fish Lake with supplies. (15-16 miles horseback). About 7:45 p.m. a thunder storm came up so went to Russell Mtn. tower, arriving at 9 p.m. Lightning struck 6 fires while I was at tower; 1 at Twin Lakes; 2 on sheep driveway SE of tower; one on Rock Creek, north of tower; one just below dam at Fish Lake and one north of Russell Mtn.-McGraw Creek trail between Duck Lake and Cupola Point. These fires all crowned up plain. Couldn't get reading as fire-finder wasn't set up yet. Also saw 5 fires on Wallowa Forest. Couldn't get anyone at Mt. Nebo so called Central Dispatcher and notified him of fires. Left the tower 9;30 p.m. to go to Fish Lake after tools and men. Left Fish Lake for fires with two men at 10:45 p.m. Left them at fire at east end of Fish Lake and went on to Twin Lakes fire, arriving 11:50 p.m. July 11th. Worked on Twin Lakes fire until 1:35 a.m., then went to fire on ridge SE of tower, arriving 2:15 a.m. Fire under control 2:30 a.m., out at 3 a.m. Lightning struck lodgepole, fire covered 12 ft. sq. Left this fire to go to fire on Rock Creek at 3:05 a.m. Arrived Rock Creek fire at 3:55 a.m. Fire burning in rotten logs along edge of creek so carried water and put fire all out and safe by 5 a.m. Went back ti fire at Twin Lakes and had breakfast at 6 a.m. Left Twin Lakes fire at 6:30 and went to Fish Lake after tools and another man to go to fire on Lake Fork Creek. Arrived at Lake Fork Creek fire 10:30 a.m. Had fire under control 2:45 p.m. Lightning hit white fir tree 6 feet in diameter; burning inside hollow all way to the top; had trouble with spot fires burning in dead logs. Heavy wind from south; had to use indirect method on account of intense heat and falling limbs and fallen trees. Left E.N. McGill with the fire and went back to Twin Lakes fire. Fire in snags causing trouble with spot fires. Worked until 7:30 p.m. Went to Fish Lake arriving 9 p.m. This was the end of a perfect day. P.A. Thompson" (Six Twenty-Six)
1941: A 82-foot treated timber tower with an open platform was erected.
August 4, 1949: "After completion of the lookout at Summit there will be a new lookout tower at site of Russell Mountain. This tower will be 80 feet in height and will be completed this season." (The Record-Courier)
August 25, 1949: "Several truckloads of timbers have been hauled through town going to Russell mountain where the forest service is erecting a lookout tower." (The Record-Courier)
September 29, 1949: "The lookout tower on Russell mountain will soon be completed. The cabin will be under construction next year." (The Record-Courier)
October 13, 1949: "The rain and snow in the mountains have released most of the forest workers from their duties as fire spotters. Work still continues on the Russell mountain tower." (The Record-Courier)
September 14, 1950: "Prefabricated, creosoted 82-foot lookout tower is nearing completion on (on) Russell mountain, three miles north of Fish lake, according to Whitman forest officials. It sets at an elevation of 7000 feet with a commanding view of an extended mountain area. Construction has been in charge of Ranger R. H. Harper and District Assistant Clifford Gross and is the first of the type built on the Whitman forest. At 82 feet from the ground and topping the lookout tower, is a house, fully furnished and equipped. The room, or sort of penthouse, is 14 by 14 feet and the summer lookout will make it his home." (The Record-Courier)
1950: A 14x14 L-4 cab was added to the top of the tower.
July 22, 1954: "Mrs. James Rainey was in the valley Tuesday from Russell Mt. lookout station and reported having as guests over the weekend." (The Record-Courier)
July 5, 1979: "A forest lookout, Terri Curtiss, 22 of Halfway, received first and second-degree burns on the face and up to third-degree burns on her hands Friday about 10:55 a.m. at Russell Mt. lookout when gas leaking from an appliance into the room exploded from an unknown source. She was flown to St. Alphonsus at Boise by helicopter and her condition is good, the facial burns not as bad as first thought and the others responding to treatment. A forest investigation of the accident was to be continued." (The Record-Courier)
September 2, 1994: "The fires were started by a lightning storm that swept through northeastern Oregon over the weekend. The Twin Lakes fire came within 100 yards of the Russel Mountain Lookout Wednesday night as it grew to 9,300 acres on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It was threatening the Lick Creek Guard Station. The Indian Crossing, Fish Lake, Lick Creek and Twin Lakes campgrounds remained closed." (Lodi News-Sentinel – California)
National Geodetic Survey
DESIGNATION - RUSSELL MTN LOT PID - RA1078 STATE/COUNTY- OR/BAKER COUNTRY - US USGS QUAD - DEADMAN POINT (1990) STATION DESCRIPTION
DESCRIBED BY US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 1954 LOCATED ABOUT 6 MI NE. OF CORNUCOPIA, 1 MI N. OF FISH LAKE GUARD STATION. ON PARTIALLY TIMBERED RIDGE RUNNING E.-W.
TO REACH FROM HALFWAY, FOLLOW WELL MARKED RD. TO FISH LAKE GUARD STATION. CONTINUE N. ON MAIN-TRAVELED RD. TO SIGN RUSSELL MTN LO. FOLLOW THIS RD. TO LOT.