1936: A 20-foot round timber tower with an L-4 cab was constructed.
June 19, 1936: "A crew of men under the supervision of Percy Alden completed a telephone line to the forest lookout station at Black Butte Tuesday evening and were detailed to work at another point on the forest. This line was built from Mt. Vernon and is a continuation of the line which was recently rebuilt from John Day to Mt. Vernon. Work on the line from John Day was started about Christmas time and has been going on since that time. Including the line from Mt. Vernon to Black Butte, about 23 miles has been built or rebuilt by the crew. As high as 20 or more men were in the crew at times, but of late it had dwindled to seven or eight. This work which was done under government relief was under the general supervision of Willis Ward, forest ranger in the Long Creek district. The new line will provide direct connections with the Black Butte lookout station." (John Day Valley Ranger)
July 23, 1943: "The members of the 4-H club and a few guests had a very enjoyable trip to the Black Butte look-out one day recently. They went horseback and had a picnic dinner and visited with Carl Belshaw who is stationed at the look-out." (John Day Valley Ranger)
1958: The 14 x 14 tower cabin floor was covered with 9" x 9" linoleum tiles, because the fir flooring was rough and splintery. Safety chains were installed on the catwalk at the trapdoor.
1959: "Black Butte Lookout will have to be worked on in the near future. Because of the fire load, the cross braces were not replaced this year, and it will be attempted next season. It has been found that at least two of the main legs are rotted on the bottom and probably in serious need of replacement. This lookout should be entirely replaced within the near future."(1959 Central Oregon District Annual Report)
1960: The exterior of the lookout was painted. A new trap door was installed using 3/4" exterior plywood, treated with two coats of linseed oil and two coats of paint.
1961: The brush that was cut in 1960 was piled and burned, also the interior of the lookout was painted.
1962: Four yards of sand and six yards of gravel were hauled to Black Butte for future use as materials for a new lookout foundation.
1968: "Black Butte Lookout's renovation consisted of a new roof, new linoleum, and repair and painting of cabinets. Also new shutters were added." (East Central Oregon District Annual Report)
1994: New tower foundation blocks were installed.
The NGS Data Sheet
DESCRIBED BY US FOREST SERVICE 1934 THIS INTERSECTED POSITION IS THE CENTER OF THE 20-FOOT WOOD LOOKOUT TOWER OF THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE ON BLACK BUTTE, ABOUT 10 MILES N OF MOUNT VERNON. THE POSITION IS MARKED BY A FOREST SERVICE DISK SET IN A CONCRETE POST DIRECTLY UNDER THE CENTER OF THE TOWER.
CUT FROM SPANISH PEAK, TROUT AND CALAMITY, BUT THIS LIST SHOULD BE CHECKED.
STATION RECOVERY (1939)
RECOVERY NOTE BY US FOREST SERVICE 1939 THIS CHECKED INTERSECTION POSITION IS CENTER OF U.S. FOREST SERVICE LOOKOUT TOWER ON BLACK BUTTE, ABOUT 9 MILES N OF MOUNT VERNON, NEAR HEAD OF WEST FORK BEECH CREEK. POINT MAY BE REACHED BY TRUCK TRAIL FROM MOUNT VERNON POST OFFICE. SIGHTS TAKEN ON CENTER OF 20-FOOT WOODEN TOWER. POSITION MARKED BY U.S.F.S. DISK IN CONCRETE POST DIRECTLY UNDER CENTER OF LOOKOUT AND TOWER.
THIS STATION CUT IN FROM THREE DIRECTIONS BY F.G. JOHNSON FOR U.S.C. AND G.S. IN 1933, AND DESCRIBED IN LIST 314. NOT ORIGINALLY DETERMINED BY U.S.F.S. THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY CUT THE POINT IN 1938 FROM STATIONS LONG, INDIAN ROCK AND BEECH, BY B.H. YOAKUM. RAY FASSETT, U.S.F.S., OCCUPIED THE STATION IN 1939 ON THE MONUMENT PROJECT. THE 1939 OCCUPATION BY U.S.F.S. WAS ECCENTRIC, THE INSTRUMENT SET UP 3.53 METERS NE OF THE CENTER OF THE LOOKOUT. SEE LIST OF DIRECTIONS. IN 1939 ALL SIGHTS TO THIS STATION TAKEN ON CENTER OF LOOKOUT HOUSE.
STATION RECOVERY (1946)
RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1946 (DHK) STATION IS THE CENTER OF THE 20-FOOT WOOD LOOKOUT TOWER OF THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE ON THE MOUNTAIN LOCALLY KNOWN AS BLACK BUTTE. IT IS ABOUT 10 MILES NORTH OF MT. VERNON. A BRONZE U.S. FOREST SERVICE TRIANGULATION DISK STAMPED--BLACK BUTTE L. O. 6234 1933 IS SET UNDER THE CENTER OF THE LOOKOUT AND IS THE POINT MEASURED TO. STATION WAS CONNECTED BY TRAVERSE TO TRIANGULATION STATION BLACK BUTTE 1946.