For the above 1910 photo: The photographer - Huron H. Smith: July 26,1883 - Feb.25,1933. At the time of his trip to Oregon in 1910 - 1911 he was Assistant Curator of Botany at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, specializing on the dendrology of North America. Bill Carr Collection/Trails Club of Oregon Archives. Note: the fire finder in the photo resided on a rock outcrop, located on one of two pinnacles flatten to create Sherrard Point
February 11, 1915: "The United States forest service, which realizes the advantage of having a lookout station on the mountain, has taken hold of the idea and in addition to an agreement to build an observatory has agreed to appropriate $1000 towards the construction of the trail." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
February 25, 1915: "Launching its campaign for funds for the construction of the proposed trail to Larch Mountain from the Columbia Highway and for establishment of a resthouse at the foot of Multnomah Falls, as well as an observatory and lookout on the summit of the mountain. The United States Government will furnish $1000 from the forest service for construction of the trail and $500 for the erection of the observatory on the summit of Larch Mountain. S. Benson has agreed to pay for the construction of the trail through his property, which will represent about a third of the cost, and the Mazamas will contribute $250." (The Morning Oregonian)
March 28, 1915: "The general committee in charge of the March 16 excursion from Portland to Flavel, where the inaugural of Hill steamship service was celebrated, has contributed $15.95 toward the Larch Mountain trail fund. The amount represents a surplus after paying for buttons worn by the Portlanders, and roses which were presented to passengers and officers of the Great Northern. No better use for the balance it was felt could be found than to add it to the fund which is to be used in building the trail from the Columbia River Highway at Multnomah Falls to the peak of Larch mountain, more than 4,000 feet high." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
April 10, 1915: "Larch mountain trail will scale the high gorge wall just to the left of Multnomah Falls. It will lead through the canyon of Multnomah creek, past Devil's rest to the top of Larch mountain, where both an observatory and lodge room will be constructed to enhance the opportunity for securing the finest view of the Cascade range. Chester Hogue, of Foulkes & Hogue, architects of the Oregon building at the Panama-Pacific exposition, has contributed his services to plan the structures. Discussing the plan yesterday, Mr. Hogue said: 'The lodge will be built against the rock at the summit of the mountain with Portland and eight snow peaks in view. The tower will be on the mountain, a quarter of a mile south of the lodge.' 'The tower will be built of huge timbers cut on the site and will rise above the tops of the surrounding trees with an outlook in every direction. Surmounting the tower is an inclosure for for the forest service which will contain a relief map of the surrounding country and a large telescope. The platform will be reached by a stairway winding around the frame of the tower, a landing alternating with a run for ease in climbing and convenience in passing. The lodge will be semi-octagonal in shape with a central fireplace cut in the solid rock. In front of the fireplace is the lounging space and surrounding this at a level two feet below is the bunk and eating space." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
April 19, 1915: "Plans are being prepared by Chester J. Hogue, Portland architect, for a clubhouse to be built on the top of Larch mountain. The plans will provide for an observatory tower 100 feet high and sleeping accommodations for 100." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
May 30, 1915: "When the Progressive Business Men's club decided to father the Larch Mountain Trail it started something. That 'something' materializes next Saturday in Blue Pencil day, when blue pencils will be sold on the streets to raise the $2000 necessary for the completion of the trail. The club has already raised $1000, while another $1000 has been appropriated by the forest service. Practically every club and womans' organization in Portland is getting behind Larch Mountain Trail Blue Pencil day because there is a general realization that its completion will round off the Columbia Highway in a manner that no other achievement could. The Larch Mountain Trail committee will by Monday have big committees cooperating from the Chamber of Commerce, Ad club, Rotary club, Realty board, Mazamas, Civic league, Automobile club, Transportation club and many of the women's clubs and parent-teacher organizations." (The Oregon Daily Journals)
June 21, 1915: "A party from Portland, including a number of Mazamas, went over the new Larch Mountain trail yesterday and climbed the lookout station, which is now almost completed, on Larch Mountain. The party was led by Chester A. Hughes and included Mr. And Mrs. George Jackson, Charles A. Bentz, G.C. Sparks, B.L. Ketchum and Osmon Royal. Mr. Hughes and Mr. And Mrs. Jackson left Portland Saturday night and camped on the trail to the mountain. The remainder of the party left the city on the midnight train and pushed directly to the summit, reaching the lookout at 4:20 o'clock in the morning. The excursionists reported that work on the trail is progressing rapidly. The lookout tower, they say, is also completed, with the exception of the 'crow's nest' platform at the top." (The Morning Oregonian)
June 27, 1915: "Larch Mountain is rapidly being brought nearer to Portland as the new trail, which reduces the distance from the Columbia by about one-third, is nearing completion. It will only be a question of weeks now when the trail will have been completed and the lookout on the summit of the peak will be ready for the many who are expected to make Larch Mountain the objective point of their trips. A party of Portland persons made the trip over the trail last Sunday and reported that it was rapidly nearing completion. The lookout on the mountain, they said, was all completed with the exception of a sort of crows nest platform which is to be put on the top." (The Morning Oregonian)
August 8, 1915: "The Larch mountain trail which has been under construction for some weeks is practically finished and is now open to pedestrians. The trail supplements the Columbia River highway and opens up a large section of scenic beauty. Beginning at Multnomah falls the trail winds up the cliff to the top of of the bluff and then skirts what is called the punch bowl. It discloses a number of waterfalls and cascades along the upper reach of Multnomah creek and from several points a large portion of the Columbia gorge is visible. It passes through virgin forest to the summit of Larch mountain, where a magnificent view of the country for many miles is to be had." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
September 29, 1915: "Dedication of Larch mountain trail and observatory will take place next Sunday morning on the peak of the mountain. Samuel C. Lancaster, engineer of the Columbia river highway, will make the dedicatory address. There will be music and an impressive service just as the first rays of the sun shine upon the famous viewpoint." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
October 18, 1915: "Celebrating last year's successful climb of Larch Mountain, a party of 36 Mazamas scaled that peak yesterday morning in time to enjoy the sunrise view from the lookout tower recently erected there. In addition the mountain was climbed by a party of 50 from the Multnomah Club and 14 forest rangers. The Mazamas left Portland on the midnight train Saturday night and went as far as Multnomah Falls. From there they took the Larch Mountain trail to their destination. The summit was reached just 35 minutes before sunrise." (The Morning Oregonian)
March 17, 1920: "House bill 243 and senate bill 2792 now pending before congress are measures of interest to Oregon. They propose substantially the same thing -- the inclusion of the north slope of Larch mountain in Oregon National forest in order that the tract may be added for recreational purposes to Columbia Gorge park. The area includes the watershed of Multnomah creek and the forest land bordering the scenic trail which leads from Multnomah falls on the Columbia River highway to the summit of Larch mountain, whence one of the most inspiring of the views of Mount Hood may be had." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
May 21, 1920: "Scenic Larch mountain has been saved for the public. Beautiful Multnomah falls will not be destroyed. Despoliation of timber on the slopes above the Columbia highway will cease. Oneonta creek will be protected and it may be possible now to construct a runway suspended from the rocky sides of Oneonta gorge to the picturesque but seldom seen falls of Oneonta creek. All these attainments were made certain when the president signed the Larch mountain bill Thursday, as reported in a dispatch to The Journal. News that he had done so was received locally with gratification." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
August 3, 1920: "A small party of Trails club members, under the leadership of Charles E. Warner, beginning Tuesday, will spend the balance of the week working on the new trail up Larch mountain from the Northwest side. The crowd left Tuesday morning for Bridal Veil, equipped with camp outfit, food and tools for trail work and climbed over the Angels Rest trail, making camp about noon at an elevation of 2500 feet on the northwest ridge of Larch mountain. Members of the Trails club urge persons interested in the development of Larch mountain to go out to the scene of the work this week, taking axes and picks to help the slashing crew now on the job." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
September 20, 1920: "No one is kept on the summit in winter, and the famous mountain so dear to outdoor loving Portlanders because of its scenery and its accessibility, lies unguarded and unprotected from the attacks of the vandal population. Larch mountain is owned by the Crown-Willamette and Bridal Veil Lumber companies, although the boundaries of the Oregon national forest have now been extended to include the mountain and title may be acquired by the government through land exchange. The forest service owns the trail right of way and a small circle on the summit, including the government cabin and the lookout tower. The pinnacle is owned half and half by the two lumber companies. The Crown-Willamette company has expressed its willingness to pay part of the expense of maintaining a lookout during the winter, and Supervisor T.H. Sherrard of the forest service said if the various outdoor organizations could all 'chip in' this protection might be afforded." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
September 21, 1920: "Much damage is being done to the beauty spots on Larch mountain and on the trail leading to that scenic point establishment of a permanent lookout there has been suggested as a remedy. The Trails club cabin on the summit has been partially destroyed. The pinnacle has been whitewashed, campfires have been left burning, initials have been carved on trees and painted on rocks and the entire trail has been left littered with picnic materials." (Oregonian)
November 28, 1920: "Hopes for the cessation of diminution of Larch mountain depredations is reflected in the combined efforts of the Mazamas, the Trails club, the forest service, the Crown-Willamette Paper company and other organizations and individual interests in the preservation of the famous mountain. Last Sunday several members of the Mazamas, headed by Vincent Stroop, obliterated the white paint that has marred the beauty of the pinacle for two months or more, by covering it with a soft gray paint, closely akin to the color of the rock. The Trails club cabin built for the shelter of mountain climbers is beyond repair, with half its sides and roof torn off for firewood. The trees cut from the summit by vandals cannot be replaced. Vandals have already this fall broken into the government cabin and the Crown-Willamette cabin below the summit. Last spring, through congressional legislation as a result of agitation initiated by the Trails club, Larch mountain was included within the boundaries of the Oregon national forest. Larch mountain will not, however, be a part of the national forest until the government has exchanged land elsewhere for the private holdings. At present the government owns nothing but the trail right of way and a small area on the summit immediately surrounding the government cabin. Efforts are being made to curb vandalistic inroads upon the mountain this winter by the paper company and the forest service, which are cooperating in paying a man to patrol the top and which have called upon other parties to help meet the expense." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
January 1921: "The ranger's cabin on the summit of Larch Mountain is not open to the public, according to a sign just posted at the entrance to the Larch Mountain trail. This is the first sign from the sign shop of Rangers Wiesendanger and Calverly to be posted." (Six Twenty-Six)
October 9, 1921: "Larch mountain cabin is to be repaired, a man is to be stationed on the summit this winter and a nominal charge is to be made for firewood supplied to climbers, all a result of the efforts of the council of Oregon Outing clubs, organized last spring subsequent to several instances of vandalism on Larch mountain and at Wahtum lake. Arrangements have been made by a committee composed of Raymond Conway of the Mazamas and H.W. Erren of the Trails club. All organizations represented in the council will be asked to contribute a small sum to help finance the repair of the cabin. The forest service and the Crown-Willamette Paper company are cooperating in emplying Barney Edwards to stay on the mountain. The forest service will furnish a power saw for cutting wood, for which a small charge will be made. The Larch mountain committee will also look over Larch mountain and make suggestions to T.H. Sherrard, supervisor of the Oregon national forest, as to what might be done. It has already suggested the rebuilding of the trail where it extends under overhanging rock and is wet underfoot." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
November 11, 1921: "The repair of the cabin on Larch mountain is being rapidly accomplished through the council of Oregon Outing clubs. Financing of the project is being handled chiefly by the Trails club, which built the cabin in the first place, and the Mazamas. The greater part of the work is being done by Barney Edwards, employed by the forest service and the Crown-Willamette Paper company, to stay on the mountain this winter to prevent vandalism. A small party of men last Sunday, headed by Ray Conway and H.W. Erren of Larch mountain committee, assisted Edwards by packing up shakes from the Palmer road, a mile and a half to the summit. The Larch mountain cabin, built and dedicated by the Trails club to the use of the climbing public, was almost demolished during the last few years by vandals who broke out the windows and tore off portions of the roof and walls for firewood. The council of Outing clubs is repairing the roof and putting in new windows so that the building will again be a shelter from storms for those who climb the mountain in winter. Edwards will act as caretaker, and will furnish wood to the public at a small charge." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
June 1, 1922: "Barney Edwards, caretaker on Larch mountain, reported this morning to Supervisor T.H. Sherrard of the Oregon national forest that he has cleared the Larch mountain trail as far as the snow line. The trail was in particularly bad shape because of trees that fell in the November storm. Edwards has been working upon it for a month or more." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
June 7, 1922: "Benson Polytechnic school hikers have protested to Supervisor T.H. Sherrard of the Oregon national forest at the aspertion placed on them because of vandalism said to have been committed a few weeks ago on the Crown-Willamette company's cabin on Larch mountain, which resulted in Sherrard's threatening to close the Larch mountain trail to the public. The Benson boys pleaded not guilty to the charge, and stated that it was a Benson teacher who was with other boys not students at Benson, who did the damage. They also stated that the damage has now been fully paid. The information previously given Sherrard from the representative of the Crown-Willamette company was that a group of Benson students, together with a Benson teacher, broke into the cabin by chopping a hole in the roof and did other damage amounting in all to about $60, which they then refused to pay." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
November 1923: "The material for an 85-foot steel lookout tower to replace the present wooden tower on Larch Mt. has been taken to Camp A, one mile from the top, where it is stored for the winter in readiness for erection on the summit before fire season in the spring. Ranger Wisendanger and guard Tom White loaded and hauled the material up the mountain in a 1 1/2 ton truck." (Six Twenty-Six)
January 14, 1924: "Because of the fact that the two noble fir tree trunks which support the Larch Mountain Lookout house have become considerably weakened by decay, it was found advisable to keep visitors off the tower during the past summer. A new tower will be erected on this point." (Six Twenty-Six)
1924: A 90-foot Aermotor tower with a 7x7 steel cab was erected.
June 8, 1925: "Mrs. W.M. Arrington has the distinction of being the first woman to be appointed state fire warden in this district or in this part of the state. She is located at the lookout cabin on the summit of Larch mountain. She has with her her 10-year-old son, Clayton, his dog and pony. Mrs. Arrington is a splendid shot. Her nearest neighbor is six miles and she will receive her mail only on rainy days when it is safe to leave her station. Her husband, who was formerly the warden, has interested himself in a fox farm at Warrendale. Mrs. Arrington for the past three summers worked with him at the lookout station." (Morning Oregonian)
November 13, 1933: Panorama photos taken by Robert Cooper & James Rittenhouse.
June 15, 1934: "Wilbert Harrison, lookout at Larch mountain, was home over the last weekend." (The Dam Chronicle)
June 20, 1935: "Wilbur Harrison took his post Monday as lookout on Larch mountain to remain all summer." (The Bonneville Dam Chronicle)
July 16, 1937: "Howard Harrison and Beth Manchester drove up to Larch mountain Saturday evening to take Mrs. Wilbert Harrison and son, Tommy, where they will spend the remainder of the summer with Wilbur, who is lookout there." (The Bonneville Dam Chronicle)
Activated: October 9, 1942; Deactivated: October 16, 1943. Portland Filter Center.
October 16, 1943: Aircraft Warning Service station Tare 2-9 was inactivated. The site was retained by the Forest Service for fire detection. (Report of Aircraft Warning Service Stations - May 1, 1944)
c.1945: A 90-foot timber tower with an L-4 cab built over a public observation deck.
October 18, 1961: "Three persons waved preliminary hearing and were bound over to the grand jury Tuesday on a charge of theft of property from a government lookout station on Larch Mountain." (The Oregonian)
1976: The lookout was removed.
National Geodetic Survey
DESIGNATION - LARCH MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT TOWER PID - RD2150 STATE/COUNTY- OR/MULTNOMAH COUNTRY - US USGS QUAD - MULTNOMAH FALLS (1994)
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1947 (WRH) THE STATION IS ON THE SUMMIT OF LARCH MOUNTAIN, A HIGH WOODED PEAK, THAT IS ABOUT 10.0 MILES SOUTHWEST OF BONNEVILLE, 4.0 MILES SOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER, AND ABOUT 4.5 MILES SOUTHEAST OF BRIDAL VEIL. THE LOOKOUT TOWER IS ABOUT 100 FEET IN HEIGHT, AND HAS A TWO STORY HOUSE WITH A POINTED PEAK ON ITS TOP.