1936: "A 45-foot tower on Lookout Butte was started in the spring of 1936. The tower will be in service during the later part of the present fire season." (Annual Forestry and Grazing Report F.Y. 1936)
Warm Springs Indian Reservation
Warm Springs Indian Reservation
1933-8 - National Archives, Seattle
September 2011 - Ron Kemnow photo
1935: "Two lookouts were completed during the fall of 1935; one a 80-foot steel tower on Shitike Butte. Qyarters for lookouts were constructed at both towers." (Annual Forestry and Grazing Report F.Y. 1936)
1987: The lookout tower was renovated, receiving new window, steps, walls, ceilings and paneling. The living quarters were also remodeled.
August 11, 2007: "The Biddle Pass Fire, one of three started by lightning July 12, took off Friday afternoon amid strong and shifting winds, sending smoke that could be seen in downtown Portland. No structures are threatened except the Shitike Butte fire lookout tower." (The Oregonian)
Ochoco National Forest
no date - Ochoco National Forest (S.O.)
1927 - Bowman Museum, Prineville
September 2009 - Ron Kemnow photo
September 2009 - Ron Kemnow photo
July 1925: "Two new lookout points have been authorized for this season, one in Ranger Anderson's district on Stephenson Mountain and the other on Mackey Butte in Ranger Donnelly's district. These lookouts will be connected direct, by telephone, with the Supervisor's office." (Six Twenty-Six)
July 14, 1927: " A motor way to Stevenson mountain lookout where Wade Huston is stationed will be constructed." (Central Oregonian)
July-August 1928: " A new fire finder has been installed in the tree at Stephenson Mountain where Lester Collins holds forth as lookout-fireman. It’s a dandy, having a metal cover which resembles the lid to a garbage pail but eliminates the use of a canvas cover entirely. Let’s have more of this type of fire-finder. They are O.K". (The Ochoconian)
August 23,1928: " From an account of a forest tour held by a group of forest officials and a news reporter: Leaving Divide ranger station to our left the party proceeded to Stephenson Mountain lookout station, the last part of the journey being over a new “motor way” which was not half bad. It is in this section that the Alexander timber interests predominate, as they do in the Foley Butte section. The station at Stephenson is presided over by Ranger Lester Collins, who spends a large portion of his time in an aerie in the top of a tree. We were just in time for dinner, as Lester announced that he had prepared a mighty mulligan.. With the “light lunch” taken along by “Harp” the table had to be propped up to bear its load. Lee Stephenson evidently smelled the banquet from afar, as he arrived on the spot promptly. After dinner the party (with the exception of one climbed to the lookout for a “look-see” over the country, a fine view was obtained." (Central Oregonian)
1929: A new lookout-fireman cabin to be built this season.
September 5, 1929: " The route then took the party to Stevenson mountain, where the first thing noticed was a comfortable frame cabin which has been built to accommodate the lookout who is stationed there. Last year this post was occupied solo by Lester Collins, who is this year a fireman stationed at Divide ranger station. Wade Shrum is now the lookout at Stevenson Mountain, and the cabin is his work. The cabin is comfortable, clean and convenient, and makes the lot of the lookout somewhat easier." ( Central Oregonian)
July 19, 1934: "Tuesday morning Ira Swift moved his crew to Stevenson mountain to begin construction on a tower and lookout which will take the last man out of the trees and put him in a tower above the forest where he will be protected from the elements while he scans the horizon for signs of fire. Needless to say, this protection increases the efficiency of the lookout and lessens damage from forest fires. The evolution of modern fire fighting methods is well illustrated on the local forest. A few years ago all fire guards were stationed along streams where the visibility was poor and fires gained much headway before they were discovered. Then about a dozen years ago someone conceived the idea that a lookout on a high point would spot a fire quicker. Cabins were moved to exposed points and lookouts were provided with motorcycles so that they could cover a route in reasonable time and given marked trees which they climbed and looked over the horizon. This was followed shortly by platforms built on a tree where the lookout sat in the blazing sun or shivered in the wind and rain as weather might dictate. Lack of funds for improvements on the national forests kept this plan in vogue for several years and as late as 1931 several of these platforms were built in the Ochoco national forest. Then came the high tower with glass encased lookout where the forest service employee is protected from elements and can devote his time in comfort to the task of finding fires undistracted by outside influences. The progress along this line has been stimulated by the funds made available under the NIRA, CWA, SERA and other relief agencies until with the completion of the tower on Stevenson mountain the last of the regular observation stations will be removed from the trees." (Central Oregonian )
July 15, 1937 Panorama photos taken By:
1957: The garage and ground house were repainted.
1961: " Replacement of the lookout started on relocation site procured from Par Norton. Work commenced in October. Foundation and anchor blocks were poured so that structural work could be started at an early date in 1962." (1961 Central Oregon District Annual Report)
1962; An Amort Special 3-story enclosed lookout house construction started. The work was 85% completed when inclement weather stopped work in November. Most all work except garage doors and interior finish work had been done. The stairs were built so they came up along the side of the catwalk, so no trap door is required.
1963: A three story enclosed lookout structure was completed in May and June, about ¾ mile west of the earlier tower.
1964: The large garage doors were repaired. Also a new latching system for the shutters was installed.
1966: A new garbage pit was dug.
1977: " For the first time in four years the Stevenson Lookout was manned on a full time basis. Joint funding by the BLM, Ochoco National Forest and the State Forestry Department made it possible." (1977 Annual Report to Oregon Department. of Forestry)