September 9, 1933: " A side camp at Fishhole is constructing a road and telephone line to the top of Fishhole Mountain. Right-of-way is now complete and will require about 10 days to complete." (Samuel L. Miller Field Report)
October 9 & 10, 1933: " It is possible to complete the road to within ¼ mile to the top of Fish Hole without much trouble. The present crew should complete the work within two weeks. Fish Hole Mountain side camp has 48 men." (Samuel L. Miller Field Report)
1935: The Triangulation Station was surveyed. A note on the form states “No house here in 1935.” Also “Station marked by a USFS disk in a large boulder at the point where the forest road makes a circle.”
September 20, 1937: " Baker and Burke, two enrollees at the CCC camp at Bly, were stationed at Fishhole Mountain. The named enrollees will return to camp September 20, because the lookout is an emergency station and occupied only during extremely hot weather." (Camp Bly Zephyr, CCC)
1938: The lookout tower was completed on October 10th by the CCC men from the camp at Bly, the crew foreman was M.W. “Bill” Harbison. The cost of the lookout was $2,546.14.
August 21, 1946: " A blaze which has gutted 250 to 300 acres of timber east of Bly was being brought under control. Lightning ignited the forest Monday and the flames quickly spread through marketable ponderosa pine and white fire. It was spotted by the Fishhole Mountain lookout, and crews and equipment were rushed to the scene. Two D-8 bulldozers and one forest service cat and bulldozer are being used. Fire camps have been set up in the Red Rock gap and Holmes Meadow. It will be a week or ten days before the fire is out, according to the ranger, but the blaze should be “safe” by Thursday unless strong winds come up." (Herald and News)
July 18, 1947: "David Marshall, who was on Horsefly lookout last season is moving to Fishhole lookout this week. There is no telephone line to Fishhole so David will have one of the new frequency modulated radios." (Herald and News)
September 19, 1947: "David Marshall, who was the Fishhole mountain lookout for the Bly ranger district this summer, returned to Oregon State college. Roy Laird of Klamath Falls has taken Marshall's place for the remainder of the season." (Herald and News)
1956: The air marking number for this station, F-14.
1959: From the inspection report made by the Regional Office of Engineering made on September 9th. "The lookout tower is a treated timber CT-2 tower, 54 feet in height. The house is the 14x14 size. Tower and house were constructed in 1940. The living quarters were found to be neat and clean, and the lookout premises were in an orderly condition. Deficiencies: Concrete spalling around north footings. Large split at joint of bottom horizontal. Stairs and landings not properly fenced. Chimney above lightning protection. Low clearance at stair entrance. Ladder for roof inspection in poor condition. Recommendations: Repair the concrete, replace the bottom horizontal, install fence for stairs and landings, reduce height of chimney or raise height of lightning protection umbrella, and provide a new ladder."
1967: A memorandum from the Forest Engineer to the Bly District Ranger dated September 21st. "Two of the four footings are badly spalled, but could be repaired by chipping away the unsound concrete and forming and pouring a new cap in the same fashion that the other two footings have been repaired. Care should be taken to insure that a good bond is secured between the old and new concrete. This can best be done by watering the old concrete and flushing it with thin grout before pouring the new concrete."
1972: The 1972 Lookout Condition Report notes that the lookout not inspected.
May 3, 1973: " One of nine Fremont fire lookouts – Fishhole in the Bly Ranger District – had been scheduled for closure this year. Plans for aerial detection in conjunction with the Modoc National Forest had to be cancelled, however, because of a lack of planning and finances. Under tentative plans, Fishhole will be closed beginning the 1974 fire season." (Herald and News)
August 4, 1977: "The largest fire was out of control about 28 miles west of Lakeview in the Fremont National Forest. It grew from 1,000 acres to 2,400 acres overnight and was burning through ponderosa pine. More than 200 were on the fire-lines. A Forest Service spokesman said the blaze, called the Lost Fire, burned the Fishhole Guard Station and that a fire lookout post had to be abandoned. For a time it threatened a ranch." (Eugene Register Guard)
July 26, 1979: “Fishhole Al” "From his lofty penthouse apartment 55 feet off the ground atop 7,069-foot Fishhole Mountain, Francis E. Alvord surveys a panorama of timbered mountains and fertile valleys, always for an eye for smoke. “Fishhole Al” as he’s known in Forest Service circles, is a veteran lookout, a career he embarked on way back in 1940, and with his 75th birthday coming Friday, he appears to be just getting warmed up. Alvord, a lookout on the Fremont National Forest since 1951, finds his remote residence of today a far cry from earlier years. His one-room living quarters boasts a propane gas range but the old “sheep camp stove” still occupies a focal point and provides warmth on chilly morns. Water must be hauled to the mountain top by Forest Service “lookout tenders” but he’s fashioned his own ingenious pulley system – for getting it up the 68 steps to the tower. And incidentally, he can still dash up those 68 steps in 21 seconds, a close finisher to the Fremont’s Andy Lange who holds the record at 16 seconds despite the high altitude. Alvord hails originally from North Platte, Nebraska, where his father was a neighbor “within hollerin’ distance” of the famous Buffalo Bill Cody, but soon moved to Portland. Alvord did a lot of traveling in his youth – back to Iowa, on to northern Minnesota where his father at that time ran a “cutover stump farm” and isolation was a way of life, back again tom Portland. “I’ve been up and down the Pacific Coast slope many times since then,” he says. Alvord had a year to go at Oregon Agricultural College majoring in Chemistry, when the depression hit and funds ran out. He worked as a process control chemist in a plant near Death Valley from 1927 to 1932 before joining a friend “on the bum. We were looking for a place to spend the winter when we hit this Oregon country and spent from 1932 to 1934 in the Applegate area.” Jobs were scarce, although numbers of people mining for gold down the Rogue River weren’t, and so the two journeyed down the Klamath River to McCloud and “got acquainted with the Forest Service” at Medicine Lake. After another three years in the chemical plant in California, Alvord quit for reasons of health, wandered in search of work for a time and returned to McCloud where he started his Forest Service lookout career in 1940 near Mt. Shasta on what is now the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The experience didn’t “take,” however, and it was back to Southern California – this time to an oil tool company plant at Torrence in 1943. Those were the “war years” and Alvord worked in the lab until 1945. By the time the war was virtually over, however, he was remote from the world happenings. In fact, “I didn’t know the bomb had been dropped because by the spring of ’45 I was on the lookout at McCloud,” he admits. “As soon as the Germans capitulated, I quit the lab job . It was ruining my lungs.” But five years later, he returned to the world of test tubes – this time in Meridian, Idaho, but when the plant closed for the summer in 1951, Alvord left and joined the Fremont as a lookout. With another one-year return to lab work, he’s been with the forest since, first on Horsefly Mountain and since 1964 at Fishhole. “It was a good deal different in 1940,” he admits. “They depended on us more then. Radios were far less efficient, communications were difficult between the dispatcher and fire crew and we were the dispatcher’s eyes. He depended on our judgment. Now they fly fires, use infra-red photography and walkie talkies.” Living conditions are also less primitive, and sojourns from the mountain far easier with his own vehicle parked atop the mountain. Before, supplies were taken in “maybe every two weeks. Now I can get my own groceries or order something when someone’s coming up.” Alvord”s considered a “pro” in meteorology by fellow workers and often predicts a storm well in advance. One sign, he explains, is when clouds assume an “anvil top” shape. That signals “the potential for lightning,” and lightning is the summer bane of lookouts and fire crews. When he’s not scanning the horizon for possible trouble spots, Alvord has time to watch wildlife – a mother grouse which once took on a Cooper’s hawk threatening her young in the brush, for instance. “She went in the brush after him but when he knocked her out, apparently with a wing, she went back in and he finally headed for a tree. He never got a feather and she perched on a stump in plain view,” apparently gloating over her victory. He’s seen tracks from passing bear and cougar, noticed the dearth of deer following the 1977 Lost Fire, sometimes feeds golden mantle chipmunks, watches the hawks, eagles and ravens which call the mountain top home. But mostly he leaves them alone. He remembers vividly a 1954 lightning strike at the lookout. “It was like being inside a giant electric light bulb,” Alvord recalls. “There was a sharp snap overhead and a crash – over in a second – but no fire. I went down to disconnect the phone and what hair stood on end.” When the current fire season is over, Alvord will once again pack his gear and head for San Bernardino, California to spend the winter with a sister. Come spring, he’ll reverse directions. Any plans for retirement? “Sure, someday, I suppose,” he acknowledges, but “some day” seems a long ways off for Fishhole Al. (Herald and News)
1979: From the 1979 condition survey report: Slight cracks in some tower members were noted. "The most serious damage occurred several years ago and has been repaired with a clamp. There is a nut, washer, and bolt missing on the second splice up the southwest main member. On the top flights of stairs, two loose bolts need to be tightened. All railings should be checked and repaired if loose, especially along the west side catwalk and at the bottom of the stairs. The railings need paint, and the catwalk boards should be weather treated. Some of the exterior siding needs replacing or repairing. The windows need new putty and the holes in the sills should be filled to prevent further rotting. All siding and sills need paint. The shutters should be retightened to the roof, as shrinkage from drying has produced gaps. The interior is in good condition, except for the trim and molding that should be nailed back on. Some water leakage was noted on the stove pipe, but no action other than watching it is to be taken. The outhouse needs to be pumped and/or relocated this summer. The lock on the cooler should be repaired. It was also pointed out that the wind meter is broken. It should be repaired or replaced. The tower should be abandoned in the event of 60 m.p.h. winds or more."
1981: " Grounding cables give acceptable readings, but stakes should be put in ground and cables connected to stakes. Gas tanks need grounding, air terminal missing rubber hose on tanks." These are failures of a lightning protection inspection.
1982: An inspection of August 26th indicates the general condition as poor. Some of the complaints are the wood stove pipe is leaking soot into the room, windows on the south side are leaking, the shutters are in poor condition, the wood is cracked and rotted at the connections, guy cables need tightening, the 2x6 walkway around the cabin is in poor condition, the railing is loose around the cabin, a bolt is missing on the southeast leg connection at height, Walkway support beam is sagging. Also noted is that the toilet is in poor condition.
1983: An August 12th letter from the District Ranger at Bly to the Forest Supervisor: "This is a follow up on an oral request made in early June to assess the structural stability of Fishhole Lookout. At this time, we have not received word on when we might expect a structural survey or who will be conducting it. It is probably unreasonable to expect to man Fishhole this year, however, it is not unreasonable to expect a survey this year in order to make plans for necessary repairs to bring it up to safety standards by next fire season. Historically, Fishhole Lookout reports more fires than any other lookout on the forest, primarily because it lies within the highest fire occurrence area on the forest. Fishhole was considered a primary lookout when developing the burned acreage objectives for the forest management planning process. As long as the lookout is out of service, fires that occur within the seen area are not detected at their average discovery size but at a somewhat larger size when finally detected by other lookouts. An increase in detection time results in an increase of acres burned. A good example of this has occurred this season on four different fires. The Round Butte fire which occurred July 17 was in the seen area of Fishhole and probably would have been detected sometime before noon, but instead was not reported until 1400 from a Bly residence. The Quartz, Shoesole and Tie fires all occurred July 20. The Quarty fire was reported about 0930 by Dog Mountain and seen by Horsefly about 1000 over Fishhole ridge by the time initial attack forces arrived. The Shoesole and Tie fires were not detected until mid-afternoon by a Weyco detection plane. All of these fires were well-within Fishhole’s seen area and would have been reported hours earlier. It is evident that Fishhole Lookout plays a major role in presuppression and a structural survey by a professional engineer is needed as soon as possible so deficient items can be identified to bring them up to standard by next fire season."
1983: From a report on the lookout dated August 12th: "The tower stairs, the deck around the cabin and the deck rail are unsafe now! The tower legs and bracing are still usable. The cabin floor structure looked sound. The rest of the exterior of the cabin is badly weathered and would be better replaced. Tower leg anchors, particularly the threaded rods, are badly rusted. A more detailed check for soundness is needed. An estimate is needed of what it will cost to replace the entire cabin and the stairs. (My offhand guess was $15,000. It could go higher!!!) Please prepare an estimate for what it would cost to contract the new cabin and stairs, including removal of the existing cabin and stairs. I recommended to do whatever is necessary to keep people off the tower! It is an attractive nuisance and very dangerous. Probably remove the bottom two flights of stairs. Signed Lee Greer"
1984: A fire crew using a small 'Cat' pulled the tower down and burned the remains.