Siuslaw National Forest > Western Lane Fire Patrol 15S-8W-12
December 23, 1913: "Next year it is proposed to build a trail and telephone line to Prairie mountain on the line between Benton and Lane counties and establish a lookout point there, as it is one of the best in the Coast range. A fire can be spotted in Benton, Lane, west Douglas and part of Lincoln counties from this point, even in very hazy weather." (The Eugene Guard)
1913: "A lookout should be maintained another season on Prairie Mountain, a peak having an elevation of 3,700 feet, and situated on the line between Lane and Benton Counties. From this point the entire district being patrolled can be seen and any fire quickly located. By building a telephone line and repairing and rebuilding an old trail for a distance of seven miles, a warden on Prairie Mountain could be in constant communication with the head warden." (Report of State Forester - 1914)
1914: "Twelve miles of badly needed telephone line was constructed, six miles of this paralleling the trail to the top of Prairie Mountain." "The eight miles of trail built this season, consisted of seven miles from Section 34-15S-7W to the top of Prairie Mountain in Section 7-15S-7W." "A Weeks Law warden thoroughly familiar with the topography of Western Lane and Benton Counties, both of which are commanded by the lookout, was stationed on Prairie Mountain throughout the summer. The facility thus afforded for early discovery of fires, together with the installation of telephone communication between this lookout, the head warden, and several district patroolman, added greatly to the efficiency of the patrol." (Report of State Forester - 1915)
July 23, 1915: " William Oglesby, Horton, on lookout point at Prairie Mountain, on the Benton county line. He has a general view of the whole district, as well as Benton county and part of Lincoln and Douglas counties." (The West)
September 16, 1915: "Robert Kuykendall is home from Triangle lake, where he has been spending the past few weeks. He also spent some time on the lookout at Prairie mountain for the forest service." (Morning Register)
June 26, 1917: "A new telephone line is being built to the Prairie mountain lookout station. Carl V. Oglesby, supervising warden of the Western Lane County Fire Patrol association, went to Walton Monday to look after the work." (The Eugene Guard)
August 29, 1917: "H.M. Mayor, a lookout stationed at the summit of Prairie Mountain, today telephoned a friend in Eugene that flies had prevented his reporting a fire immediately after its discovery. It is cold at night on the mountain top and the insects had crawled into the generator of his telephone to get out of the cold. The box acted as a trap and the accumulated flies finally put the instrument out of commission. The fire at Noti was reported spreading today. Mr. Mayor has reported 100 fires since July 18." (The Oregonian)
May 28, 1920: " Mt Roman Nose and Prairie Mountain will be used as lookouts as in the past and both these stations will be equipped with modern cabins and fire finders. Telephone lines have already been built to these points." (The West)
August 31, 1920: "J.L. Spry, of Walton, who has been the look-out on Prairie mountain, yesterday made a trip to the mountain to get his camping equipment which he left there. Mr. Spry was forced by illness to leave to leave the lookout about two weeks ago. He was replaced for the rest of the season." (Morning Register)
1920: John Rust and his brother carried the building materials over a seven mile trail to the summit. Jack Sandburn, a carpenter, put up the building. George Lewis was the helper and when the job was completed he stayed on as the lookout.
June 12, 1921: "A lookout house will be erected at once on top of Prairie mountain in the Siuslaw national forest, nine miles northwest of Blachly and about 40 miles from Eugene. R.S. Shelley, supervisor of the forest, is now at Blachly arranging for the purchase and transportation of lumber to the top of the mountain, which is at an elevation of 3400 feet and is one of the highest points in the Coast range in Lane county. The materials will be packed on horseback." (Morning Oregonian)
June 18, 1921: "A lookout house, similar in construction to the one on top of Mount Hood, will be erected at once on top of Prairie mountain, in the Siuslaw national forest." (Capital Journal)
July 8, 1921: "The first aerial mail to be delivered in Oregon was dropped yesterday by a plane from the Eugene base of the forest fire patrol to J.L. Sanborn, lookout on Prairie mountain in the coast range, 35 miles west of Eugene, in the Siuslaw national forest. The plane was in command of Pilot Drake of the 91st aero squadron. 'Jake' Jacobson, observer, dropped the mail. Sanborn has a lookout tower on top of the mountain which is plainly visible. Jacobson said the plane cut down as close as possible and the bundle of letters, papers and magazines struck within 50 feet of the structure." (The Morning Oregonian)
July 13, 1921: "R.S. Shelley, supervisor of the Cascade national forest, left yesterday by motor truck for Blachley with a load of equipment and supplies for the Prairie mountain lookout station and will go on to Mapleton and to the Five Rivers country to look after road work." (Morning Register)
August 24, 1921: "R.S. Shelley, supervisor, and A.R. Wilcox, examiner in the office of the Siuslaw national forest, left yesterday for the Alsea country, where they will look after the building of a new trail from the road between Alsea and Fisher in Lincoln county to the top of Prairie mountain, which is used as a forest fire lookout. The trail will be several miles long and is one of several which are being projected in the Siuslaw national forest." (The Morning Oregonian)
September 2, 1921: "R.S. Shelley, supervisor of the Cascade national forest, accompanied by A.R. Wilcox, examiner of forests, left yesterday for Blachly with a load of tools and equipment for the rangers' lookout house on top of Prairie mountain. Mr. Shelley announced before he left that J.L. Sanburn, who has charge of the construction of the house will be transferred to the top of Roman Nose, where a similar building will be erected." (Morning Register)
June 25, 1922: "The first of the forest fire lookouts stationed on the Siuslaw national forest this year has began his work on Prairie mountain, northwest of Eugene. Lawrence Chruden is located on that eminence and there will be others on Mount Hebo, Mount Roman Nose, Cummins peak, Dean's mountain and Elk peak. (The Morning Oregonian)
June 19, 1923: "Lookout goes to Prairie Mountain -- T.M. Humphreys, who was lookout last summer in the Santiam national forest, has gone to Prairie mountain in the Siuslaw forest to act as lookout this summer." (Morning Register)
September 27, 1924: "V.G. Backman, lookout at Big Prairie Mountain in the coast range west of Junction City, has returned to Eugene for the winter, accompanied by Mrs. Backman. He will attend the University of Oregon, the lookout stations having been closed for the season. Mr. Backman will be remembered for his work in the local 'Y' office last year. He reports that deer hunting is not good this fall as in former years, owing no doubt to the unusually dry year which drove the deer from the higher regions." (The Eugene Guard)
June 15, 1925: "D.G. Backman goes back to his old post on Prairie mountain, about the distance southwest on the divide between the Siuslaw river and Alsea river." (The Eugene Guard)
May 1931: "The Prairie Mountain lookout house was broken into again this winter. A shutter from a south window had been removed and a glass broken out. The guest had remained long enough to use a gallon of kerosene and to get the dishes very dirty and things thoroughly messed up. Several things were taken from the house. Fortunately the visitor placed the shutter back over the broken window, otherwise things would have been badly damaged by the rain." (The Salt - Forest newsletter)
April 4, 1934: Panorama photos taken by Robert Cooper.
1935: ----- Bewley, the lookout was a co-op between the USFS and Western Lane FPA, and remained so until taken over entirely by the state.
1953: A half mile of the lookout road was re-aligned.
1958: "A new lookout was built and completed on Prairie Mountain and was used through the fire season. This was a joint undertaking with the Polk-Benton District to our north. Each District paid half of the material costs, Polk-Benton furnished the carpenter and this Association provided all the additional labor. The total cost was $2214.74 for materials." (1958 Annual Report to Oregon Department of Forestry)
1958: The cupola lookout house was moved and a 3-story enclosed 'Amort Special' structure built. The cupola building was purchased by the Kyle Brothers and moved about a quarter of a mile away. The building was used as a line shack while running cattle on the peak.
c.2012: The long unused lookout site has been reactivated with the Forest Watch camera detection system.