Crater National Forest > Rogue River National Forest > Southwest Oregon District, ODF 39S-4W-11
1916: "A discussion of the pros and cons of having a lookout on Tallowbox. It was felt, by the Author of the report, that Tallowbox would be a better site than Palmer Peak. It was also believed that the Jackson County Fire Protective Association and the State would be willing to cooperate in the maintenance of this station." (The Fire Lookout System on the Crater NationalForest, Harold D. Foster, 1916)
June 16, 1916: "C.A. Hoxie, district fire warden for Josephine county, H.E. Eberle, Jackson fire warden, and M.L. Erickson, Carter National forest supervisor, made a trip of inspection to Tallow Box lookout near Applegate recently. This lookout covers a part of both Jackson and Josephine counties and a telephone line has just been completed which gives a direct connection with the Medford and Grants Pass forest offices." (Rogue River Courier)
1918: An Alidade with a tent camp were established, this was the first lookout on region 6 of the Crater National Forest.
September 22, 1920: "Mrs. A.H. Peachy has just returned home from a visit with her husband, who is the lookout at Tallowbox Mountain. Mrs. Peachey had the misfortune to fall several days ago and injured her left arm, so it was necessary to come within the reach of the care of a physician." (Ashland Weekly Tidings)
October 6, 1920: "A.H. Peachey, who has been employed as a lookout on the Tallowbox mountain since June 1, is spending a few days with his family on Lincoln street. He expects to return to his post tomorrow." (Ashland Weekly Tidings)
October 20, 1920: "A.H. Peachey is back from the Tallowbox mountain, where he had been employed all summer as a fire lookout." (Ashland Weekly Tidings)
1923: "A D-6 cupola style lookout house was built by McDaniels, the lumber was cut for the building at the Medford warehouse by Floyd Murray, Bert Nason and others. The lumber was packed by horse by Clyde Smith, packer at the Star Ranger Station." (The History of the Rogue River National Forest, Vol. 1)
May 16, 1929: "While most of the forest lookouts will not take their stations until June 1, the first lookout to go into service for the season was W.H. Peachy, who today assumed duty at the Tallowbox lookout station in the Applegate district. He begins duty this early because that section becomes dryer earlier than the other districts, and also because it covers such a large sweep of territory." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 22, 1929: "Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Peachy, parents of Mrs. Edwin Dunn, left Sunday for the Applegate district, where they will again take charge of a lookout station. The Peachys have spent their summer at this same lookout for the past 10 years." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 22, 1929: "When the last days of cold weather have flown around the corner and the country turns to vacation plans, A.H. Peachy, 77, accompanied by his wife, is leaving his cozy home at 100 Lincoln street, Ashland, to begin his summer's job -- or maybe they call it a vacation, too. The elderly Ashland couple came here this week to go on duty at Tallowbox lookout in the Big Applegate country to remain until the first snowflakes this fall, which makes the eleventh consecutive summer that they have been on duty on the mountain peak. Each summer they return with all the eagerness and enthusiasm of former years. Five months that the average person would be a time of drab monotony, with only the lonely yip of a coyote for companionship, is a period of interest to these grayhaired observers who have learned to appreciate nature and her beauties. The softly tinted glow of the sunsets and the peculiarity of the cloud formations that are invisible down in the valleys are subjects of study and admiration for them. When others go about their work, unheeding the beauty in everyday life, these people watch deer and brown eyed fawn that come close enough to brush their sides against the house. They place cans of water close by to invite the friendship of the quail and other birds. In early summer these folks find themselves in the midst of a botanical garden, for the peak is aglow with a profusion of wild flowers, including the sweet scented mountain lily, a peculiar specie of straw flower, the shy baby blue eyes, and many other varieties that grow only in the mountains. Mr. Peachy has spent a good portion of his life teaching school, having taught at odd times for 34 years, a part of which were spent in teaching in eastern schools. He delights in relating experiences during their first few years on the mountain before the conveniences of a modern lookout house were known, and life was lived in makeshift methods. 'Our telephone was fastened on a tree, and a tent was our only shelter from the wind and storm,' he said as he stroked his gray hair in recollection of other days. A semi-circular pile of rocks was used as a windbreak for the campfire. After a time he built a little shanty out of shakes by improvised methods, and it still stands, serving as a store room. 'I went down to the woods and cut poles and made some shakes for the shanty,' Mr. Peachy related, with an unmistakable note of pride in his voice. 'I carried up what I could on my back and brought the rest on burro.' Mrs. Peachy is an expert with the needle and many are the colonial rugs and pieces of embroidery work that show that her hours on Tallowbox are not spent in idleness. Drinking water is the most difficult problem encountered during the entire summer on the lonely peak. The trip is made every other day to a spring three quarters of a mile distant, and water is carried back on Tom, a sturdy little burro. Tom causes lots of trouble, Mrs. Peachy says, but he doesn't drink much water. When the weather is damp, he doesn't have a drink for ten days at a time. The Tallowbox, towering toward the sky in lofty grandeur, is 5,021 feet above sea level. It was established as a lookout 14 years ago, and was the first in District 6 in the Crater National Forest. The origin of its strange name is not known, although tradition has it that a hunter left a box of tallow on the peak years ago. This is one of the most popular lookouts, and is visited by many people during the season. Visitors find it interesting to try detecting a smoke in the wide expanse of mountain ranges but inexperienced eyes have difficulty in spotting a fire. 'But we are so accustomed to the vast area of mountains around us,' Mrs. Peachy explained, 'that one glance tells us whether there are any fires.' 'Oh, we like it up there,' she added with a twinkle in her merry blue eyes, 'but when fall comes we are so tired. Every year we think we'll never, never want to go back again.' " (Ashland Daily Tidings)
March 11, 1930: Panorama photos taken by N.C.W.
May 23, 1930: "P.M. Ricketts of Medford, formerly night watchman for a lumber company on the Greensprings has been stationed at the Tallowbox lookout, that being the first lookout to be put up on this season." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 14, 1930: "Clarence Buck has spent the last few days constructing a water trough at Tallowbox." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 17, 1931: "Tallowbox was the first lookout station to be opened up this season by the forest service. E.M. Ricketts, who will have charge, began duty there Tuesday." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 10, 1932: "Laws of the forest service this year require every lookout to be a married man and must take his wife to the station with him. If a fire occurs within two miles of the station he is required to extinguish it and during his absence his wife has charge of the station. Mr. and Mrs. Dean Saltmarsh and family of Jacksonville went on duty at Tallowbox last Monday." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 5, 1932: "Ranger L.C. Port of the Star Ranger Station has been engaged the last few days in making a visibility chart for the different lookout stations. It is for the purpose of registering the number of clear days during the fire season. The map has 30 objects within 20 miles distance of the lookout and letting one-half inch measure one mile, circles are drawn every five miles from the center. Each day the lookout sentinel must write down how far he can see and why the visibility is no greater. At the end of the fire season this chart is sent to the Portland office for study." (Medford Mail Tribune)
September 19, 1932: "Tallowbox lookout station seems to be an interesting place, or maybe people go there to have some place to go; at least it seems to be getting its share of publicity this summer, as there have been many visitors there. Mr. and Mrs. Dean Saltmarsh, who have charge of the lookout, were visited last Sunday by Everett Beeson, Republican nominee for county sheriff, and his wife of Talent. The road now is completed to within one mile of the lookout and Mr. and Mrs. Beeson drove their car to the end of the road." (Medford Mail Tribune)
July 11, 1933: "Earl and Hazel Saltmarsh, son and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dean Saltmarsh, hiked four miles down from their home at Tallowbox lookout station to the road, to spend this week with relatives." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 16, 1933: "The forest service put on first lookout for this year June 14, when Dean Saltmarsh and his uncle, Ed Saltmarsh, were moved to Tallowbox." (Medford Mail Tribune)
November 8, 1933: "Ed Saltmarsh, who has been at the Tallowbox lookout during the summer, has returned to Ruch." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 14, 1934: "Because of the present period of low humidity and the fact that the forest cover is very rapidly drying out in spite of rains just passed, several of the lookout stations in the forests will be manned this week. Two CCC men from the Applegate camp, who have been acting as lookouts on Tallowbox mountain, are being transferred to Wagner Butte, and Dean Saltmarsh, regular lookout, will be established in their place at Tallowbox." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 16, 1935: "Dean Saltmarsh of Oak Grove went on duty at Tallowbox lookout last Saturday, being the first lookout to go on duty in the Applegate district this spring. The time at which additional posts here will be occupied will depend on weather conditions." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 31, 1935: "Mrs. Dean Saltmarsh and children spent the week-end with Mr. Saltmarsh, at Tallowbox Lookout station where Mr. Saltmarsh is stationed. The oldest son, Earl, remained for a vacation with his father." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 23, 1935: "Dean Saltmarsh, lookout at Tallowbox, is undertaking the training of CCC boys from Camp Applegate in the task of locating and reporting forest fires, which will enable them to serve as emergency lookouts if needed this summer. Mr. Saltmarsh is in charge of two boys at the present, having released two last week. Two emergency lookouts are on duty at Mt. Ashland, although fire conditions in the Applegate section this summer have not necessitated further protection of this type." (Medford Mail Tribune)
October 4, 1936: "Leonard Andrews moved over from Dutchman's Peak to fill in for Robert Ottoman who returned to college."(Medford Mail Tribune)
1937: A crew of five men from the Applegate CCC camp built a garage and woodshed at a cost of $200.00.
July 28, 1938: "A minor change took place this week on the Applegate fire staff. John Byrne at Little Applegate guard station, was moved to Tallowbox lookout. Ali Sandoz was sent from Tallowbox to Mt. Ashland to supplant CCC men on duty there. The Little Applegate guard station will be abandoned." (Medford Mail Tribune)
October 13, 1939: "Last week's storm and cold snap, which deposited about two inches of snow on Dutchman's Peak, brought permanent release of all lookouts and fire guards in the employment of the forest service. However, as a safeguard against the spread of fire in the warm dry period which has followed, Jack Crump, employed at the Star Ranger Station during the summer, was sent to Tallowbox lookout this week." (Medford Mail Tribune)
May 24, 1940: "Tallowbox lookout station, the first to go on duty here this season, was taken in charge Wednesday by William Snyder, who remained at the post last summer, and who spent the winter in San Francisco. The season is opening at a normal period, the local forest office said. Tallowbox had been authorized, through its recommendation from the local ranger to the regional office in Portland, to go on duty May 1, and several other authorizations were made for May 15. However, actual time set for the men to take their posts will depend upon the weather." (Medford Mail Tribune)
June 6, 1940: "W.H. McDonald went on duty as temporary lookout at Tallowbox Wednesday during the absence of the regularly employed lookout, who is attending annual fire school at Carbury this week." (Medford Mail Tribune)
October 20, 1941: "John Byrne, lookout at Tallowbox, surveyed the scene yesterday, especially the slippery condition of the extremely steep road, and decided to await more favorable travelling weather, hoping to get out today." (Medford Mail Tribune)
1942: Mr. and Mrs. Jim Winngham spent the winter at the lookout as AWS observers.
October 16, 1943: The Aircraft Warning Service Station "Nan 3-7" was inactivated. The service had utilized existing forestry facilities. At the end of service the facilities reverted back to the forest service for it's original purposes. No AWS funding to any extent was spent on improvements. (The Aircraft Warning Service Stations, May 1, 1944)
July 16, 1946: "Like the postman who went for a walk on his vacation, Glen Williams of the Rogue River Forest service today spent his day off duty fighting fire. Williams, lookout assigned to the Tallow Box station, was coming Star Gulch this morning looking forward to a day off duty when he came upon a small fire burning by the side of the road. Williams reported to M.L. Tedrow, fire chief for the service, that the fire had started in an old log which lay near a creek. The lookout surmised that some passing motorist of pedestrian had thrown a cigarette stub in the direction of the creek and had failed to notice that it fell short of the water." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 29, 1946: "Lightning last night set five fires in the Rogue River forest, Medford headquarters stated this morning, and one lookout, Glen C. Williams of the Tallow Box station, Applegate, reported that he was partially 'knocked out' when was attempting to use the phone. Williams reported this morning that the lightning struck both the lookout tower and the small cabin lower down the hill from where he was phoning, putting the tower phone out of commission." (Medford Mail Tribune)
August 30, 1946: "An Applegate valley lookout, Glen C. Williams, was stunned on his perch at Tallowbox, was struck by lightning in a Rogue valley storm. He was using the telephone when lightning struck his tower and a nearby cabin." (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin)
April 21, 1954: "Warnings of forest fire danger were issued here, following a fire that burned two acres in the Squaw Creek area near Tallowbox Lookout. Foresters said drying weather had created an earlier-than-usual danger." (The Oregon Statesman)
1963: A 14x14 flat roof Amort style lookout house on a 10-foot treated timber tower was constructed.
1964: "Completed stairs and landing, installed radio, lightning cables and outhouse." (Southwest Oregon District seasonal report - 1964)
1965: "Complete construction of new lookout and removal of old lookout." (Southwest Oregon District seasonal report - 1965)
1988: Five young people were hired under the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps. Along with fire fighting the crew members worked with regular crews on projects, including the remodeling of Tallowbox Lookout. (Annual Report, Southwest Oregon District)
1990: Thirteen windows were broken out on May 18. The State Police Crime Report: This case involves two brothers who were out in the woods with a group of friends when an argument ensued between the brothers over the use of a truck. They both ended up ay Tallow Box Lookout and both were arguing and shoving each other and both were very mad. They both took their anger out on the windows in the lookout by breaking 13 of them. They both had to go to the emergency ward at the hospital for stitches to their hands.
August 30, 1990: "The close location of the lookout to population centers and all weather road system have created a vandalism and theft problem for us. A couple years ago, the solar panels to operate the radio for Southern Oregon Regional Communications were shot up and had to be replaced. This spring, the lookout itself incurred over $1000 dollars worth of damage to the cabin. Last Friday the lookout was broken into and over $600 worth of the lookout's personal equipment was taken. Personal equipment is not covered under the State's insurance so the items are a loss for the employees. I have discussed the matter with Pam Johnson of SORC and all she needs is access through the gate via a key or their lock. I have attached a map showing the desired location. If we could get your approval soon, we would perhaps be able to have the gate installed this summer while we still have crews on." (A letter from ODF Unit Forester to BLM Unit Manager)
September 6, 1990: "This letter approves your request of August 30, 1990, to place a gate across Road No. 38-3-33, which provides access to Tallowbox Lookout. I understand that this action is necessary to prevent a recurrence of recent theft and vandalism suffered to the lookout, private property, and Southern Oregon Regional Communication facilities on the mountain." (A letter from the Unit Manager to the ODF Unit Forester)
December 12, 2006: "The fire was reported at around 7:40 p.m. Sunday (December 10) and Applegate Fire District No. 9 rushed to the hilltop location with two engines and six firefighters, district officials reported. Crews quickly extinguished the fire, which burned part of a radio building at the base of the Oregon Department of Forestry's Tallowbox lookout tower. Although the fire didn't burn the lookout, it did char support beams and burn through some cross pieces. The lookout, which was shuttered to withstand winter storms, also had smashed windows and railings on its steep steps were torn down. A damage estimate hasn't been released." (Mail Tribune)
2008: The lookout structure was torn down, the debris hauled to a nearby location to be burned
2009: A steel tower was flown in by helicopter for a base for the camera detection system.