Klamath Indian Agency / Winema National Forest 34S-13E-12
1933: " It is estimated that the detection system on the Klamath reservation is 90% complete. An emergency lookout is urgently needed east of the Black Hills section, the estimated cost of which, including road and tower, is $1200.00 and would cover some 150,000 acres of timbered lands in our most remote region." (FY 1933 Annual Forestry Report, Klamath Agency)
1934: "River Bed Butte truck trail, which is four miles in length and constructed for serving the lookout on River Bed Butte is fully completed." (Report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs July 30, 1934)
1934: "Under new ECW projects three additional lookout stations are being constructed within the reservation.River Bed Butte, located near the eastern boundary of the reservation, east and north of the Black Hills, will consist of an sixty foot Aermotor tower, cabin, fire finder, etc., and will cover a large “unseen” territory having a high hazard, mostly within the Black Hills and Fuego Mountain ranges." (FY 1934 Annual Forestry Report, Klamath Agency)
1934: A 67-foot tall steel Aermotor lookout tower was constructed by the CCC and later assigned 641 as the new building number by the Klamath Indian Agency. Also the same year building number 642 was built, a 12x16 living quarters the type as constructed by the CCC Indian Division on other sites with Aermotor towers. The total cost for both structures was $4,191.13.
1935: Ten acres of Reservation lands were set aside for administrative purposes of fire detection.
July 30, 1953: "It was from River Beds, 85 miles away from the control office at the Agency, that a desperate call for help came in recently. A child was very ill, could the doctor rush out? Dr. F.D. Wilder was already needed locally on a rush call but he came to the radio, asked numerous questions and made his diagnosis. Medicine would be rushed out. Pilot Dick Smith then came into the picture, was given the prescription which he fastened to a small parachute. He flew out to River Beds, and in spite of a high wind, dropped the precious package right at the tower doorway. Dr. Wilder kept at the case by radio and a few days later came word “temperature and disposition back to normal.”(Herald and News)
July 1, 1959: Advertisement for bids, Klamath Tribes, a 67 foot steel tower with a 12x16 cabin. Black Hills Unit. (The Oregonian)
January 15, 1963: "Air markings have been painted on all except Riverbeds Butte which at present does not lend itself to air marking. This tower is made of steel with a 7x7 cab. The cab is in a poor state of repair and badly needs replacing." (A memo from the Bly District Ranger to the Forest Supervisor)
1969: Manned only in emergencies. (After lightning storms or high hazard days.) The living quarters is manned each year as a fireman station.
1972: Comments on the 1972 Lookout Condition Report: Riverbed lookout tower is steel guyed approximately one-half way up the tower. The guys do not have thimbles. The steel structure is in good shape. Stairs in good shape. Paint is peeling on the inside of the cab. There are two windows out in the quarters. Windows are needed in both the quarters and the tower. The fire-finder should be grounded. This is a good emergency tower. No major maintenance required.
1974: Evaluation of this site indicates that it qualifies under the Potable Water Program. Presently the site consists of a spring with a spring box and a gravity flow outlet. Proposed corrective measures include repair work on spring box and treatment and disinfection as required.. from a 1974 Project evaluation.
The NGS Data Sheet
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1948 (MTP) THE STATION IS LOCATED ABOUT 24 MILES NORTHEAST OF SPRAGUE RIVER, 15.5 MILES NORTH-NORTHWEST OF BLY, AND ABOUT 1/2 MILE SOUTHEAST OF THE RIVERBED FIRE LOOKOUT TOWER, ON A WOODED ROCKY POINT, THE HIGHEST IN THE VICINITY.
TO REACH THE STATION FROM THE POST OFFICE AT BEATTY, GO EAST ON STATE HIGHWAY 66 FOR 9.0 MILES TO A SIDE ROAD LEFT. TURN LEFT AS PER SIGN HORSE GLADES AND GO NORTH FOR 12.4 MILES TO A SIDE ROAD LEFT. GO WEST ON CINDER PAVED ROAD FOR 5.5 MILES TO A SIDE ROAD RIGHT AT AN OLD LUMBER CAMP. TURN RIGHT AND GO EAST THROUGH CAMP AND UP HILL FOR 1.6 MILES TO FORK JUST AFTER MAKING SHARP LEFT, TURN RIGHT AND GO NORTH AND EAST ON OLD LOGGING ROAD FOR 1.0 MILE TO THE END OF THE ROAD. FROM HERE PACK NORTH TO THE HIGHEST POINT AND STATION SITE.