August 14, 1914: "Five 'Oregon Fire Finders', a new machine for the exact locating of forest fires, were received this morning by the Baker County Fire Protection association and will be placed at different lookout stations as soon as possible. One will go to Sparta peak." (La Grande Observer)
September 21, 1916: "Called by long distance telephone from the lookout station on Sparta butte, Forest Supervisor Barnes and W.E. White of the Minam forestry service motored at top speed beyond Goose creek at 2 o'clock this morning, a distance of more than 27 miles, to find that a fire in the sagebrush had attracted the lookout's attention. The blaze was near the forest boundaries and for a time menaced the timbered area." (La Grande Observer)
October 6, 1916: "Lightning striking in a stand of second growth yellow pine timber three miles northwest of Sparta early Sunday morning started a fire which was burning fiercely when the lookout on Sparta Butte reported to the Minam forest headquarters in Baker at 8:30 o'clock. A force of men was at once rushed to the scene of the conflagration and by noon the flames were under control." (Silver Lake Leader)
June 2, 1921: “The forest service has 17 miles of telephone line now under construction through a region hitherto cut off from communication. The line will connect with Sparta Butte lookout station. Its primary purpose is to aid in fire fighting during the dry season. Incidentally, it will give public telephone service to Union Spring, Lilly White, Martin's Bridge and ranch houses at intermediate points. The service will also be available for use of campers during the summer.” (The Dalles Daily Chronicle)
July 6, 1933: "Merle Phelps, who is to be lookout on Sparta butte this season, has been putting the telephone line in order the past few days." (The Record-Courier
October 19, 1933: "It might be of interest to Spartans as well as others that the road to the top of Sparta butte has been straightened and graded and otherwise conditioned so that one may drive to within a fwe hundred feet of the lookout cabin. The new cabin is of the latest approved design, with shutters for all windows, heavy anchor cables and a copper lightening rod." (The Record-Courier)
1934: A L-4 ground house was constructed.
July 11, 1935: "Yale Mitchell returned July 1 from Cove where he has been working on forest roads and trails to begin his season's job as fire lookout and smoke chaser at Sparta Butte lookout station. It is interesting to know that the forest service rates Sparta Butte as one of its best stations. Located on the south line of the Whitman forest, it rises out of the foothills to a height of nearly a thousand feet above the immediately surrounding country, allowing an unobstructed view of the entire south slope on the Granite mountains. Its easy accessibility and close proximity to civilization are also points in its favor. The forest service evidenced its satisfaction several years ago by putting up modern buildings and extending the road to within a few hundred feet of the summit." (The Record-Courier)
September 16, 1937: "I.D. Binns, living a half-mile north of Sparta, lost his home and practically all contents early Sunday morning, when it was struck by lightning. Mr. Binn was up closing a window when the lightning struck and he was naturally stunned for a few moments. However, he soon regained presence of mind enough to try to put out the fire, fighting frantically for a few moments. Seeing it was uselesws with some effort he got a prized violin, snatched up a few pieces of bedding, his house slippers and two or three pieces of clothing and rushed outside. Wilbur Wilson, lookout on Sparta Butte, who was up watching for lightning fires, saw the bolt strike the house and said the building collapsed just 23 minutes after being hit." (The Record-Courier)
September 5, 1940: "Frank Lound came down from his forest guard duty at Sparta Butte and reported .75 of an inch by noon." (The Record-Courier)
1960: "Sparta Butte Lookout: Constructed 1934 on present site; Elevation 4200 feet; Overlooks driest and warmest area on district; Manned earliest and latest of district's lookouts; Steven Perrigan (married, 1 child) manning station, first year." (General Integrating Inspection, 1960)
National Geodetic Survey
DESIGNATION - SPARTA LOH PID - QB1186 STATE/COUNTY- OR/BAKER COUNTRY - US USGS QUAD - SPARTA BUTTE (1988) STATION DESCRIPTION
DESCRIBED BY US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 1954 LOCATED ABOUT 1 MI NW. OF SPARTA, ON SUMMIT OF BALD MTN.
TO REACH FROM SPARTA TAKE FOREST RDS. 3.4 MI TO LOOKOUT GARAGE AND END OF TRUCK TRAVEL. A 5-MINUTE PACK TO SUMMIT.