June 8, 1913: "The Forestry Service has ordered a telephone line to be installed connecting Prairie City with the summit of Strawberry Peak, 12 miles distant from this place. A station will be erected on the extreme summit of the peak at a height of over 10,000 feet, which overlooks the entire forestry district of Eastern Oregon. The purpose of the Government in establishing this station is to enable a lookout stationed there to notify all points of the reserve in the event of fires. Work on the telephone line and station has been commenced. From Prairie City there is telephone connection with all points in this reserve." (The Morning Oregonian)
June 14, 1913: "Uncle Sam is building a telephone line from Prairie City to the summit of Strawberry mountain, which is nearly 10,000 feet high, and on the summit of which a lookout station will be maintained to give warning of forest fires." (Daily Capital Journal)
September 8, 1913: "Quite an extensive forest fire is reported burning on upper Beech creek north of Mt. Vernon. The fire was first reported from the government lookout station on Strawberry mountain, some 15 miles to the east. A crew of men was immediately rushed to the fire, and it is believed they will be able to get it under control before much damage is done. Grant county has been extremely fortunate this season in the matter of forest fires. According to the records of the local forest office no fires of any consequence have occurred." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
August 21, 1914: "Forest Examiner Neal, with the assistance of Forest Guards Marks, will install the new fire finder at the Strawberry lookout station this week. A similar instrument is soon to be installed on Dixie Mountain, which is in the Whitman Forest. The two instruments, used in conjunction, will give the exact location of any fire observable from but one station. The two stations are connected by telephone." (Blue Mountain Eagle)
July 1, 1916: "Francis D. Newbrook, a forestry student from Ann Arbor, Mich., arrived in John Day this week and will work on the Malheur national forest this summer as lookout. He will be stationed at the Strawberry station, which is the main control station on the forest, and he will return to Ann Arbor at the end of the fire season." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
July 28, 1916: "Forest Ranger Lucas came limping into town Sunday evening after a very novel, and what proved to be almost fatal adventure on Strawberry mountain. Early last week Mr. Lucas started for Strawberry accompanied by Lookout Wm. T. Hannum. It was Mr. Lucas' intention to drive as far as possible with his hack and go the balance of the distance with pack horses, there being several packloads of instruments and equipment to go up. About half way up the mountain snow was encountered and it increased in depth towards the summit until on the upper north slopes it was found to be from four to fifteen feet deep. While leading his packhorse around the rim of a precipice the rotten snow gave way and the horse landed in a twenty-foot drift some seventy feet below. Fortunately the horse was not seriously injured. It was by merest chance that Mr. Lucas escaped being dragged down with his horse. It was found to be impossible for the present to install the lookout at the summit, and he was left camped some two miles from the top. Mr. Lucas said he left the lookout with all the comforts of a well-regulated home, his canned milk, butter, etc., being packed in nature's refrigerator, a huge snow drift." (Blue Mountain Eagle)
August 28, 1916: "The carelessness of Herbert Bell, a homesteader on Pleasant Hill, southwest of here (John Day), resulted in a somewhat dangerous forest fire. Mr. Bell was clearing some land Friday, and just before leaving the timber for dinner he set fire to a pile of brush. When he returned from dinner the fire had spread to the adjoining timber and was beyond his control. He immediately summoned some nearby settlers, but they were unable to control the fire, and it spread rapidly. In the meantime the forest lookout on Strawberry mountain spotted the smoke, and telephoned the supervisor's office at John Day. Early Saturday morning, Supervisor Bingham and a couple of rangers went to the fire, and by evening it was under control. Though it is a violation of the state fire laws to burn brush this time of the year without a burning permit, it is unlikely that action will be taken against Bell, as the fire was confined to his own lands." (The Oregon Daily Journal)
September 2, 1916: "The steel lookout tower on Strawberry mountain is completed. There was about two tons of steel in it. It was taken up in sections and transported by pack animals. Ranger L. E. Lucas, an expert packer, did the work. Some of the steel beams were 12 feet long and because of curves and poor clearance they were packed in a vertical position. The least nervousness on the part of the animals would have resulted in the loss of material and death of the horse. This mountain affords a view of all the timbered country from Snake river to the Cascades. A man is kept there during the fire season and is connected by telephone with all the ranger stations." (Baker Herald)
September 8, 1916: "The watchman at the lookout tower on Strawberry mountain discovered a fire in the Fox valley neighborhood last Tuesday and phoned in to the John Day office, supposing it to be a homesteaders cabin burning. From the new steel lookout tower recently completed a view can be had of all the timbered country between the Cascades and the Snake river. During the fire season a man is stationed in the tower, which is connected by telephone with all the ranger stations." (Blue Mountain Eagle)
March 1917: "Lookout Hannon, stationed at Strawberry Mountain on the Malheur, discovered and reported a fire thirty miles distant and outside the Forest. The fire proved to be a settler's house which had been burning less than ten minutes when discovered from the lookout station." (Six Twenty-Six)
1921: A D-6 cupola lookout house was constructed.
July 28, 1922:"The house upon Strawberry mountain, built last year has withstood the wind for one year without apparent damage other than to window panes facing the south. These are being replaced by double strength glass and shutters against winter sleet." (Blue Mountain Eagle)
September 1922: "At 3 a.m., August 2, Lookout Frank Faiman on Strawberry Butte, spotted a lightning fire southwest of the Peak about two miles by air line and about 6 miles by foot travel. Chaser Monte Moore started immediately and was on the job about daylight or a little after. Moore found lightning had struck in two places, starting a fire in both places in old logs and litter. He remained with the fires all the balance of the day to assist the burning out and cleaning up of the areas. I didn't inquire whether or nor Faiman makes a regular practice of getting up nights to take a 'look see', but this is the second time this season he has spotted fires between 1 and 3 a.m. He doesn't sleep in the daytime either, as is evidenced by the number and speed with which he gets in his reports. P.A.T." (Six Twenty-Six)
September 20, 1935: Panorama photos taken by Osborne.
July 29, 1937: "If you don't get a kick out of life try holding down the top of Strawberry Mountain in an electrical storm such as visited that region Monday evening this week. The hair on Bob Watson's head fairly crackled at the lookout station. Although the lightning struck many times in this district during the evening the grass and brush were soaked up and did not allow flames to break out immediately. A fire in a dead log may smolder for several days after being started before the surrounding brush and grass is dried out sufficiently to allow spreading into a real blaze. There are more fires caused each year from lightning than any other cause." (Grant County Journal)
July 30, 1937: "The Forest Lookout, Robert Watson from his glass house atop Strawberry Butte endeavored to count the flashes of lightning and managed to enumerate 276 of the fiery streaks before losing count." (John Day Valley Ranger)
September 2, 1937: "During the evening of August 30, three inches of snow fell on Strawberry Mountain as recorded at the lookout station. This is the first flurry of snow in the past few months and is fair warning that old man winter is putting up the blinds." (The Journal - Grant County)
1939: Wilford Masson, the lookout received a special sending and receiving radio this year.
February 5, 1940: "In April 1912, the District Forester suggested in a letter to the forest that it might be advisable to construct a few lookout towers for the detection of fires. The specifications for the construction of a lookout tower and a blueprint was enclosed in the letter. However, it was not until September, 1916 that a lookout house was constructed on the forest. This house was built of sheet steel on Strawberry Mountain for a total cost of $663.00. The house was guyed to the rocks from each corner by a double strand of number 9 wire. Evidently the guys were no strong enough and the house was destroyed by the wind the following spring. This house was replaced by a standard wooden lookout house in September, 1921, which is still in use." (Malheur Historical Information)
August 22, 1941: "Lloyd Jordon was a caller at Van Monday. On Tuesday morning he started for Strawberry Mountain Lookout Station, where he will be engaged for several days packing in material for a new station." "Mrs. Lloyd Jordan and daughter Beverly took some supplies to Indian Springs Sunday where they were met by Lloyd, who is packing the material for the new lookout station on Strawberry Mountain." (Burns Times-Herald)
1941: An L-4 model lookout house was constructed.
January 1, 1942: "The Strawberry Mountain Wild area on the Malheur national forest, Oregon, has been approved, according to Lyle F. Watts, regional forester, U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is an area of about 31,760 acres. The west end is about five miles south and east of John Day in Grant county, Oregon. The withdrawal includes the high country on the divide between the Middle John Day river, and Canyon Creek and Malheur river." (Daily Capital Journal)
September 12, 1952: "The first snow of the season made its appearance Monday night on high peaks in the John Day valley area. Ranger Robert Wallace reported two inches of snow at the Strawberry lookout." (Blue Mountain Eagle)
National Geodetic Survey
DESIGNATION - STRAWBERRY MOUNTAIN LOH PID - QC0907 STATE/COUNTY- OR/GRANT COUNTRY - US USGS QUAD - STRAWBERRY MOUNTAIN (1996) STATION DESCRIPTION
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1933 (FGJ) THIS INTERSECTED STATION IS ON THE HIGHEST PART OF STRAWBERRY MOUNTAIN, ELEVATION ABOUT 9600 FEET, THE HIGHEST POINT IN GRANT COUNTY. IT IS A WELL-KNOWN LANDMARK ABOUT 12 MILES AIR LINE S OF PRAIRIE CITY. FOR REACHING THE LOOKOUT, SECURE DIRECTION FROM THE U.S.F.S. FROM THE END OF TRUCK TRAVEL IS A 4-HOUR PACK WITH HORSES OVER AN 8-MILE TRAIL. THE INTERSECTED POINT IS THE CENTER OF THE FOREST SERVICE WOOD LOOKOUT HOUSE WHICH SITS ON THE GROUND. THERE IS NO STATION MARK. U.S.G.S. STATION STRAWBERRY OF 1898 CONSISTING OF COPPER BOLT UNDER CAIRN HAS BEEN DISTURBED AND IS UNRELIABLE. IT WAS PROBABLY CLOSE TO CENTER OF LOOKOUT HOUSE AS NOW SITUATED. IN 1920 THE U.S.C. AND G.S. MADE AN UNCHECKED DETERMINATION OF THE SUMMIT OF STRAWBERRY BUTTE WHICH IS PRINTED IN SP 175 AND WHICH MAY BE CONSIDERED SUPERSEDED.
STATION RECOVERY (1946)
RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1946 (DHK) STATION IS THE CENTER OF THE STANDARD U.S. FOREST SERVICE LOOKOUT HOUSE ON THE HIGHEST PART OF STRAWBERRY MOUNTAIN, ELEVATION ABOUT 9,600 FEET. IT IS A WELL-KNOWN LANDMARK ABOUT 12 MILES AIR LINE SOUTH OF PRAIRIE CITY. FOR REACHING THE LOOKOUT, SECURE DIRECTIONS FROM THE U.S.F.S. STATION WAS LOCATED BY INTERSECTION IN 1933 AND CONNECTED BY TRAVERSE TO TRIANGULATION STATION STRAWBERRY 1946 IN 1946.