1910-11: A tree observation post was established 50 feet above the ground.
September 24, 1919: "Arrangements are being made for erecting a sixty-foot steel tower, with stairs and an inclosed top, at the head of Goodall hollow above Asaph run, with directly connecting road from the township road on Asaph run and a road that will end on private land near the old Harrington Hotel, on Pine creek above Ansonia. This will have direct telephone connection with the Asaph office of the Forestry department and the nearby homes of the fire wardens. It is estimated that something more than 100,000 acres can be seen from this tower, about 43 per cent of which is woodlands. Stairs are used instead of the old-style ladder so that visitors can easily get to the top without fear of accident for while these towers have a primary object of reducing the forest fire damage, they also furnish a period of pleasure to visitors, who are well repaid for the climb in the wonderful view obtained." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
May 27, 1934: "Believing that white foxes bring bad luck, many woodsmen in this district today were waiting for something unfortunate to happen following the report that an albino fox had been sighted in the Tioga state forest. Albinism is very unusual among foxes, according to Forest Ranger E.N. Lenckes, of Ansonia. The albino fox was reported seen in the vicinity of the Goodall forest fire observation tower, but no woodsman seems to know the origin of the belief that such an animal brings bad luck. Absolutely white foxes are not native to Pennsylvania." (The Salt Lake Tribune - Utah)
October 8, 1936; "Construction of a 10,200-foot road to Goodall fire tower eliminating a 25 per cent grade and dividing more evenly the territory between Goodall and Left Asaph, is in charge of enrollees of Darling Run Camp. Surveyed some months ago, the right-of-way has been cut and the 'bull-dozer' is now engaged in grading the route. Tourists and others who enjoyed viewing Pennsylvania woodlands from a fire tower will find the completed road an easy way of access and its advantages in fire protection are numerous." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
October 13, 1937: "Hathen Productions this weekend returned to Wellsboro to resume photographing the Canyon country for the State Movie Program. Shots were taken at Goodall Tower, the Colton Park Lookouts and along U.S. Route 6. Appearing in the picture is a new Buick purchased from the Evans Auto Company, of Wellsboro. The reel will show two young ladies starting on a motor trip from Harrisburg to all the outstanding scenic attractions of the state. The picture will be in natural colors with sound." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
August 21, 1940: "A new cabin is being constructed at the Goodall fire tower. The cabin is to be made of native stone." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
November 23, 1949: "The new portable generator just purchased by the Wellsboro Fire Department proved to be a life-saver for a lost hunter. A bear hunter from Harrisburg, name not known, was missing, when the party he was with returned to their cars at the end of the day's hunting, Wednesday. A searching party failed to locate the missing man after several hours of firing rifle shots to attract his attention. At 2 a.m. Thursday a call was put in to the Wellsboro Fire Dept. For the use of their new portable generator and searchlights. Firemen Tom Focht with several others responded with the light unit to the scene of the search. They set up a large 500-watt spotlight on top of the Goodall fire tower which is located in the center of the area where the hunter was last seen. They used this as a beacon in hope that the hunter would see it and come to the tower. The hunter reported that he saw the light as soon as it was turned on and started toward it through the woods. At approximately 6:30 Thursday morning the hunter came out a short distance from the fire tower and found members of the searching party. He related that he had built a fire and had decided to wait until morning to find his way out when he saw the light." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
May 2010 - Creative Commons
November 9, 1922: "Forester Dague of Clearfield announced that the big steel fire tower for the lookout near Grass Flat had been shipped there and would be erected at once. It is the fourth tower secured for the district. The Central Pennsylvania Forest Protective association, composed of owners of timbered lands, was organized about twelve years ago to safeguard their property from devastating conflagrations. That was before the activities of the forestry department, but the association has in recent years rendered valuable assistance to the department." (The Altoona Mirror)
1913: An observatory is to be built on Greenlee mountain. (Report of the Department of Forestry, 1912-13)
An unimproved bald top observation point established prior to 1918.
July 26, 1922: "After breakfast the next morning we hiked to the top of Broad Top mountain and visited the Greenwood fire tower. This mountain top is 2,500 feet above sea level. The tower is eighty feet high, built of steel and has a watch box on top. We all climbed all the steps of the watch box. From this tower one can see in all directions for a distance of sixty miles." (Altoona Mirror)
April 23, 1931: "Oscar Miller of Driftwood, towerman of the Grove Mountain Fire Tower, had a thrilling experience in the fire that raged in the forests near Driftwood. Miller, who was in the tower, stuck to his post a little too long. The flames, racing at a fearful pace, had the tower surrounded before Miller was aware of the fact. He started down but was forced to climb back to his lofty perch. District Forester Baer was in telephone communication with Miller until the flames burned the insulators from the poles. Miller informed Baer that he was leaving and that was the last message Baer received. When Miller failed to put in his appearance, the foresters were fearful of his safety and as soon as possible started for the tower. They met Miller as they approached the tower and he was none the worse for his experience." (McKean County Democrat)
June 19, 1940: "Grove Mountain Run fire tower, part of the Cameron County forest fire protection plan, is to be moved this summer to a higher and more favorable location at the head of Brooks Run sector, L.G. Barnes, District Forester stated today. The Brooks Run site is 280 feet higher and is probably the highest point in Cameron County. The new tower will be twenty feet taller than the Grove Mountain tower, which is sixty feet in height. The elevation of Brook Mountain is 2,380 feet. The new tower may also be used as a flood control tower and may be manned the year around instead of during the fire season alone the District Forester said. If that is to be done, daily reports of stream conditions and atmospheric readings will be sent to government control stations at strategic points. That section is located at the head of important watersheds and could keep an eye on head waters of a dozen streams. The local forestry office maintained a temporary wooden tower on Brook Mountain during the recent fire season with an observer on constant duty. The work of moving the old tower will be started as soon as official permits are issued and the equipment can be purchased for the tower extension." (Olean Times-Herald - New York)
1913: A tree observation post was established 23 feet above the ground.
An unimproved bald top observation point establishewd prior to 1918.
Union County - Bald Eagle State Forest
October 18, 1953: "Bill Harlos, who is in charge of the fire tower north of Irem Temple Country Club, gets a birds-eye view of the beautiful countryside with its changing leaves of many colors. Bill is keeping his fingers crossed, too. Since resuming his duties Oct. 1 no fires have been reported in his area." (Wilkes Barre Sunday Independent)
August 8, 1954: "Harvey Fire Tower at Irem Temple Country Club is being reconditioned with a new roof, and improved telephone facilities. Although there have been a number of forest fires throughout the county, William Harlos, towerman, has not yet been assigned to regular duty." (Wilkes Barre Sunday Independent)
April 5, 1922: "Sherman Seanor, of Sigel, has been employed as watchman on the Hays Lot fire tower." (New Castle News)
August 2, 1922: "More than 100 persons have visited the Department of Forestry's fire tower in northern Jefferson county every Sunday this summer, according to a report sent to the Harrisburg office by District Forester Zerby, of Clarion. To provide for the comfort and convenience of the public. Forester Zerby plans to place benches and tables beneath the trees at the foot of the tower. He also plans to wall-in a spring and build an open fireplace for persons who desire to cook a lunch when they visit the tower. Forester Zerby is opening a trail from the fire tower down North Fork, which will open the State Forest and the adjoining land to hikers and fishermen." (New Castle News)
December 10, 1923: "Hunters who have spent some of their time in the vicinity of Hayes fire tower, near here, have returned home with well filled game bags, Towerman Herman Seanor says that from his personal observation fully 1000 squirrels were killed this season near the tower, and that hundreds of pheasants and rabbits were bagged. The squirrels have been large ones. Mrs. R.J. Melzer, of this place (Brookville), killed the largest squirrel reported thus far. It weighed two and half pounds and was a black fellow." (New Castle News)
May 4, 1926: "Miss Gladys Custer and Otto J. Wilt of Shanksville were married last Saturday evening atop Hays Mills fire tower near Berlin. The wedding took place at the top of the 60-foot steel tower, where Mr. Wilt has served as watchman for the last three years. Mr. and Mrs. Wilt will make their home in a cabin at the fire tower for the present and will later go to Shanksville to reside. The Hays Mills tower was erected by the Pennsylvania forestry department and is at an elevation of 2,900 feet." (Indiana Evening Gazette)
HEAD OF BAILEY RUN
An unimproved bald top observation point established prior to 1918.
1915: A 56-foot steel tower was erected.
photo, n/d - Ron Kemnow Collection
February 2012 - Creative Commons, Nicholas T.
An Unimproved bald top observation point established prior to 1918.
An unimproved bald top observation point established prior to 1918.
1910: A tree observation post established 40 feet above the ground.
July 18, 1921: "Tower No. 4 will be situated on property of Joseph Seguin near Highland Fling, Logan Township, Blair county and will cover a large section of the Allegheny mountains where fires have been prevalent in the past." (Indiana Evening Gazette)
September 21, 1921: "Highland Fling fire tower located on the high knob on the farm of Joseph Sequin was completed this week and work was immediately started in setting the poles for the telephone line to the tower. According to District Forester Walter D. Ludwig, it is the plan of the Forestry Department to have all the fire towers in this district in shape by October 1 as that they can be used for the fall forest season which usually starts about that time. The tower at Highland Fling is of galvanized steel and is 40 feet in height. The cabin at the top is about seven feet square and has glass windows on all sides so that the towerman has an unobstructed view in all directions. Nine flights of steps with protecting railings furnish easy access to the cabin." (Altoona Tribune)
An unimproved bald top observation poinr established prior to 1918.
August 4, 1921: "The fire tower which the department of forestry is going to erect on Holmes hill, between Leolyn and Shunk, was hauled by truck to its site on Monday." (Wellsboro Gazette)
April 20, 1922: "M.E. McNett, of Leolyn, is towerman in the fire tower on Holmes Hill, McNett township, Lycoming county." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
October 16, 1937: "The Holmes Hurst fire tower, near Masten, will be dismantled after the Fall season. A new tower is being erected on a higher mountain, Sprout Point, in the same locality." (Gazette And Bulletin)
November 30, 1933: "An interesting example of how timber land-owners of Pennsylvania cooperate with the department of forests and waters in protection of woodlands from fire was cited today by George H. Wirt, director of the bureau of forest protection. The department desiring to erect a forest fire observation tower near the Berks-Chester county line, selected a site with a 960-foot elevation in Union township, Berks county. The owner of the property, Mrs. Louise Brooks of Birdsboro, deeded the tower site of some ten acres in extent and a right of way for a telephone line to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a consideration of $1. When the site is no longer used for fire observation purposes the land is to revert to the former owner or her heirs. It is expected that the new tower, which will probably be an 80-foot structure of steel with stairs and an enclosed cabin on the top, will be erected early next spring. The tower will afford protection to at least 100,000 acres in the valley which E. Fred Brouse, of Norristown, is the district forester." (Gettysburg Times)
May 31, 1935: "George H. Wirt, chief of the division of forest protection, Department of Forests and Waters, today announced the completion and occupancy of a new fire tower near Hopewell Furnace in southern Berks county. The tower is seven miles southwest of Birdsboro, and about twenty-five miles from Reading in the French Creek area. The tower was erected with Federal LWD funds on ground given to the State. It is eighty feet high and is constructed of steel. A park area will be developed on the ground surrounding the tower and upon its completion will include picnic tables, pavilions, and drinking facilities. The fire tower and park area will consist of approximately ten acres according to present plans. A surfaced road has been constructed from Hopewell Furnace, and the park will be easily accessible. The tower, although just completed, has been in service since May 1. It is located on the highest elevated spot in lower Berks county. Communications with forest rangers and the district forester have been made available by the installation of a telephone." (New Holland Clarion)
April 26, 1928: "The only tubular fire observation tower in the State eighty feet in height was erected near Dunlo in southern Cambria county, and is named the Hostein Tower in honor of one of the early settlers in that section. The Windler Real Estate Company contributed more than 25 per cent of the cost of erecting the tower, as it overlooks several thousand acres of their forest land which has been planted with forest tree seedlings."(McKean County Democrat)
1916: A tree observation post established 35 feet above the ground.
September 7, 1922: "'The 60' steel forest fire observation tower under construction on Jacks mountain, some six miles towards Three Springs, from Mount Union, will have a ground elevation of 2,360 feet above sea level or from the observer's platform of 2360 feet." (Huntingdon Daily News)
April 17, 1923: "The fire tower on Butlers Knob, we are informed is about completed, and can be seen from almost any place in the valley." (Huntingdon Daily News)
April 29, 1924: "On Saturday morning at eight o'clock, twelve of the scouts gathered at the clubhouse and prepared to make a hike to the Jack's Mountain fire tower. They crossed the river in a boat and then journeyed along the creek back of the general Refractories Brick Yard along Chestnut ridge, onto the Hill Valley road. The scoutmaster offered a prize to the boy who sighted the tower first. This honor goes to Steve Benezik, who saw the tower before they reached the road. When about half way, everyone ran at the scouts pace, which is fifty steps walking and fifty steps running until the mile is completed." (Daily News)
March 11, 1926: "This 60 foot steel tower was erected during 1922 by the Department of Forests and Waters. It is on the highest known point in Huntingdon county, at one of the knobs on Jacks mountain known as Butler's knob. The elevation above sea level is 2360 feet and above the valley below 1670 feet. From this lookout a good view is had over most of Huntingdon county and a large part of Blair, Mifflin, perry, Juniata, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin and even Centre counties. Lewiston thirty miles to the northeast can be readily seen, the smokestack of the Viscose Plant plainly visible. The South mountains east of Chambersburg toward Gettysburg are distinctly visible on a clear day as is Blue Knob north of Bedford and the Alleghenies west of Altoona. The view from this station is truly magnificent. Several hundred thousand acres of forest land valued at over a million dollars can be observed from the jacks Mountain Fire Tower. Near the tower and under close watch from it are the thousands of acres of forest lands in Singers Gap of which 1168.35 acres have been purchased by the Borough of Mount Union for a watershed. By auto one can drive to Cora which is some three miles west of Shirleysburg and about six miles south of Mount Union. Following the telephone line from Cora to the tower is a two and one-half mile hake, but the path shows much evidence of many footsteps.-- Walter Leach, District Forester." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
December 2, 1950: "C.G. Weirich, the towerman at Jack's fire tower on Singers Gap Mountain, was in Mount Union a short time Wednesday, after walking to the General Refractories Quarry at 'Old Woman's Gap.' He was storm-stayed and this was the first time he was able to get down the mountain. He came to Mount Union with a driver on the stone truck and returned Thursday morning. All during the terrible weather of the week-end Mr. Weirich kept his family in Mount Union posted as to the weather changes. He told them he had plenty of food and if his bread didn't hold out he would make biscuits, which he did. Mr. Weirich said the wind never howled around the old tower like it did during this storm." (Huntingdon Daily News)
May 28, 1953: "Snake stories, always thrilling, are due to make their appearance in this area, and a couple of successive warm days should bring out plenty of reptiles and numerous yarns. A group of state foresters and fire inspectors, working this week in Huntingdon county to open the telegraph lines on Jack's Mountain leading to the fire tower, reported killing six reptiles. Five copperheads, one 39 inches long, and one large rattler were found. Judging from the early killing, snakes will be plentiful this season. That means plenty of stories, too." (The Altoona Mirror)
November 3, 1954: "Nine inches of snow covers the ground today at Jack's Mountain fire tower. Charles G. Weirich of Mount Union, 80-year-old towerman, reported at 11:30 this morning that there was a nine-inch covering of white at the tower today as a result of snow during the past 24-hours. The tower is located south of Mount Union, atop Jack's Mountain. It is one of the highest, if not the highest point, in the county, according to District Forester F.H. Dutlinger." (Huntingdon Daily News)
1913: A tree observation post was established 28 feet above the ground.
1917: A tree observation post was established 36 feet above ground.
1911: A tree observation post was established 40 feet above the ground.
An unimproved bald top observation post established prior to 1918.
September 10, 1924: "The fire tower that is being built at Kecksburg will be completed within the week. A telephone line has been installed but it has not been connected yet. Within the next week some person will be chosen to have charge of the tower. With a man stationed at the tower a fire should be discovered within a few minutes after it starts and the manner in which the fire warden has the district organized, within 10 minutes a group of men should be at the scene of the fire. it was explained. A man will be stationed at the tower only during the fire season, which begins in October and closea December 1 and begins again in March. All persons who have subscribed to build the tower are invited to go to the tower and see what has been done with the money." (Connellsville Daily Courier)
March 13, 1936: "Work has been started on erection of a new fire tower at Ridge Chapel on top of Chestnut Ridge, one mile east of Kecksburg. Demolition of the Kecksburg tower will be started soon." (Connellsville Daily Courier)
Schuylkill County - Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry
1915: A tree observation post established 42 feet above ground.
October 26, 1939: "The Kellogg Mountain tower, an 80-foot tower near Monroeton where a year around observer is stationed." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
An unimproved bald top observation point established prior to 1918.
October 26, 1967: "Construction has been completed on a new, 80-foot fire tower atop Kinton's Knob dominating more than 400 square miles of Bedford County forest land. The Knob is a 2,700-foot promontory of Wills Mountain, about three miles west of Bedford. District Forester George R. Winning of McConnellsburg said the tower will protect the northwestern and southwestern quadrants of the county. He said, 'We expect to be able to survey almost the entire western part of the county, and much of the eastern as well.' The eastern sectors are already protected by fire towers atop Martin Hill, south of Rainsburg, and Tussey Mountain, west of Everett. The elevation of Kinton's Knob is slightly higher than the other two, and watchers can see west to the Allegheny Mountain escarpment, whose top forms the Bedford-Somerset County line. Mrs. George Armstrong of Schellsburg, has been named to staff the new tower, continuing until mid-December when seasonal snows lessen the danger of forest fire. She will have two-way radio contact with other fire towers and the district headquarters pending construction of telephone lines to the site. It is reached by a newly cleared dirt road from Route 30. The new tower, costing about $26,000, is of all-steel construction designed to withstand extremes of wind and weather." (The Altoona Mirror)
June 19, 1982: "Another victim of Wednesday's storms has turned up, or down. It was discovered Thursday that the Kinton's Knob tower bearing antennas for County Control, local 'ham' operations and fire department frequencies was bent literally in half by the storms. Some of the antennas were pointing at the ground, a knob-climber reported, adding that Sound Electronics was at the site to re-align the antennas temporarily until a solution to the bent tower can be decided. The nearby Knob fire tower and AT&T tower, appear to have escaped damage." (Bedford Daily Gazette)
Warren County - Allegheny National Forest
postcard, n/d - Ron Kemnow Collection
November 26, 1924: "First lookout tower to be completed in Pennsylvania has radius of 50 miles. A forester lookout began his duty today in the federal forestry lookout here (Kinzua), the first lookout tower of this kind to be completed in Pennsylvania. The tower which cost $10,000 is reached by a road cut out of the mountainside at a grade of 900 feet in a mile. The tower has a radius of 50 miles." (New Castle News)
c.1918 - Chief Forest Fire Warden Report for 1918
1890: A 15-foot tall solid rock tower was constructed.
c.1913: The tower was rebuilt.
1912: A tree observation post established 40 feet above the ground.
May 22, 1925: "An airplane is blamed by Fire Towerman Bruce Henrie for a blaze that swept over 700 acres of valuable timber land on Knob Mountain last night causing a loss of many thousands of dollars. He discovered the fire a few minutes after an airplane flying low, had passed over the wooded section. Henrie is confident something dropped from the plane to start the fire. Several hundred men fought throughout the night to bring the fire under control and put it out this morning after several farm buildings had been threatened but saved." (Lebanon Daily News)
Somerset County - Forbes State Forest
An unimproved bald top observation point established prior to 1918.
1917: A tree observation post established 35 feet above the ground.
A 50-foot wood tower was erected prior to 1918.
1912: A lookout post was established 35 feet above the ground,
October 26, 1939: "The other towers in District 16 are the 80-foot Lee Tower at Leetonia, the 60-foot Goodall Tower, Asaph Run; the 50-foot Baldwin Tower at Baldwin run; the 60-foot Rarick Tower on Rarick Mt. About 15 miles northwest of Mansfield; and the new Bloss Mt. Tower about a mile off Route 15 south of Blossburg." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
August 3, 1921: "State Forester Paul Mulford, of Wellsboro, is busy supervising the erection of a 60-foot steel tower on Maple Hill for the State Forestry Department. It is located near the point where the township lines of Duncan, Charleston and Bloss converge. Roads will be built to the tower. It will have telephone connection with the Farmer's Mutual lines, so that observers can quickly report any forest fires located. The country for many miles around can be seen from this 'lookout.' " (The Wellsboro Agitator)
September 7, 1921: "The new steel fire observation tower of the Pennsylvania Forestry Department on Maple Hill is about completed." (Wellsboro Agitator)
May 27, 1925: "Last Wednesday Towerman Wood, on the Maple Hill tower, sighted a fire which looked like a camp fire at the head of Long Run, Morris township. He reported to the district office and telephoned to farms which he thought would be able to see the fire, but no one could be found who could locate it. Later it increased in size and Warden Chas. F. Lamberson, of Arnot, went in with his men. They found the fire, which was in the slashings of the C.C. Slaght Lumber Co., about 2 miles beyond their railroad, and no one living or working within three or four miles of the spot. After a hard fight, the fire was controlled and held to seven acres." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
April 14, 1926: "Saturday, April 10, occurred the first serious forest fire in Tioga District. The drying winds for two days past made danger spots on south exposures. A spark from an engine on a log train at Morris set a fire which was quickly seen by the towerman at Maple Hill fire tower, whose prompt action sent fire wardens and help at once. The mill of the C.C. Slaght Lumber Co. Was shut down so the men could assist. It was not until about forty acres of state forest land was burned over that it was stopped." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
June 1, 1939: "The Department of Forests and Waters announces that one of the state's 144 forest fire observation towers will be moved to a new location and that three towers have been increased in height from sixty to eighty-six feet. The tower to be moved is now located on Maple Hill. It will be moved to a more advantageous location on Bloss Mountain." (The Wellsboro Agitator)
postcard, n/d - Ron Kemnow Collection
October 13, 1921: "Fire Warden Rowland who is in charge of the forests in this end of the state, is completing the erection of the first fire tower to be erected in this section. The tower which is of steel is being erected near Marienville on a commanding height from which thousands of acres of woodland can be scanned by the warden at work in the tower with his glasses. The tower is a huge affair and stands 60 feet in height and is built of steel. In the foundations for the tower there were used eight tons of concrete and the foundation is solid. Eight tons of steel also enter into the construction of the fire tower which is fashioned to withstand mountain winds. The towers are the same type as are used in the western forests where men are kept constantly on watch to prevent destructive fires." (McKean Democrat)
1952: The tower was dismantled and re-erected at Chestnut Ridge in Fayette County.
Bedford County - Buchanan State Forest
1909: "A tower on the top of Martin Hill, south of the ranger's lodge, is a necessity. From here almost every portion of the reserve is visible. Asuitable tower would not cost more than seventy-five dollars." (Report of the Department of Forestry, 1908-09)
1912: A tree observation post established 25 feet above the ground.
June 21, 1921: "On the top of Martin Hill, 3,096 feet high, another tower will enable the observer to locate forest fires in the territory bounded by the northern section of Bedford county. Sideling Hill mountain, northern Maryland, and the Allegheny mountains." (The Gazette - Bedford)
November 28, 1975: "A stolen car was recovered in Bedford County Wednesday afternoon, but not before it and four acres of underbrush around the Martin Hill fire tower were burned. State police said the 1975 Cadillac convertible valued at $9,000 had been stripped before it was set on fire; the blaze spread to the surrounding dry leaves. The car owned by Joseph V. Cavin of Pittsburgh has been stolen Tuesday, and driven from Pittsburgh to the isolated Martin Hill spot." (Bedford Daily Gazette)
April 16, 1931: "There are now only two fire towers in McKean County, one on Bush Hill, east of Smethport and one just north of Kane. The towers at Rock City, N.Y., Kinzua in Warren County and in the northeast corner of Elk County, southwest of Betula, also assist in furnishing protection to McKean County, not properly protected by a fire tower is the northwestern portion and it has just been arranged to erect an eighty foot fire tower on Mt. Beacon, the highest point in that section of the county, with an air-way beacon upon which it is the plan of the Harri Emery Airport Association to place a beacon at some future date. This tower is being erected and paid for entirely by the McKean County Protective Fire Association and will be known by a name to be selected by the school children of the city of Bradford, the townships of Croydon, Foster, Bradford, Otto, Keating, Lafayette and Hamilton on the plan hereinafter outlined. These plans in the making for the construction of a new and better road from the Bennett Brook road to the site of this tower in order that they may get a view of McKean County from the top of the structure." (McKean County Miner)
April 23, 1931: "A third fire tower will be erected in McKean county according to reports, in the Northwestern portion of the county, the only section which is not properly protected from forest fires. It will be an eighty foot tower and will be erected on Mt. Beacon, the highest point in that section of the county, with an airway beacon top, on which it is planned by the Harri Emery Airport Association to place a beacon at some future date. This tower is being erected and paid for entirely by the McKean Protective Fire Association and will be known by a name to be selected by the school children of the city of Bradford, the townships of Croydon, Foster, Bradford, Otto, Keating, Lafayette and Hamilton on the plan as hereinafter outlined. There are now only two fire towers in McKean county, one on Bush Hill, east of Smethport, and one just north of Kane. A new and better road will be constructed to the site of the tower." (McKean County Democrat)
October 18, 1935: "Mt Beacon fire tower observation point for the northern fire district of McKean county, located less than two miles west of Bradford, opened for the fall season this morning. Although the forest is pronounced unusually dry and opening of the tower is at least two weeks later than many in previous years, Mr. Coleman reported there have been no fires discovered in the woods yet. Telephone service will be installed in the tower today under the sponsorship of the McKean County Protective Fire Association. Its number is Bradford 2-1238." (The Olean Times-Herald)
Somerset County - Forbes State Forest
April 27, 1923: "Miss Emma Lord, of Mt. Pleasant, near here, is the first woman in the state to be appointed a fire warden. Her appointment was announced by District Fire Warden Charles E. Baer. She will be placed in charge of the Mt. Pleasant fire tower, near her home. Miss Lord is a lover of the great outdoors, and it is predicted she will make a capable official." (Bedford Gazette)
August 3, 2013: The tower was moved and the top section and cab was set up at the Owl Creek Recreation Area. The 85-foot steel Aermotor tower had been moved from its original location some years ago and placed at the DCNR Weiser District office in Cressona, where it was used for training and education. The tower was in disrepair and was once again dismantled and moved. The tower was donated to the Weiser Forest Fire Wardens Association and volunteers spent many hours making the tower presentable to the public again. The refurbished 25-foot top section of the tower will be used for firefighter training and open to the public on special occasions.
Somerset County - Forbes State Forest
October 3, 1949: "Contrary to popular belief, the highest point in the state is not in the mountainous northern part of the Commonwealth. Officials of the Department of Forests and Waters point out that Negro Mountain in Somerset County, only a few miles from the State's southern border holds that title. Negro Mountain, 3213 feet above sea level, was named in 1760 to do honor to a negro slave who sacrificed his life so that a party of hunters he accompanied might escape from a band of marauding Indians. On a clear day over 400,000 acres of forest land can be seen from the top of the Department's fire tower located there." (The Charleroi Mail)
Sullivan County - Wyoming State Forest
c.1910 - 1910-11 Annual Report
A 30-foot wood tower erected prior to 1918.
November 21, 1923: "Many of the forest fire observation towers maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters for the location of forest fires are used as landmarks by aviators in their long-distance flights. Secretary Charles E. Dorworth, of the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters, said today that arrangements have been completed by which a large beacon light will be placed on the Old Town forest observation tower located one mile east of Clearfield. This tower is near the emergency landing field of the United States mail service, and the power for the light will be transmitted through conduits which will be erected along one of the standards of the tower, and will be so concealed that there will be no danger of contact with the line. The site of the Old Town tower comprises about ten acres and is located in the Moshannon State Forester District, District Forester Dague contemplates developing the tower site as a recreational area by the planting of ornamental trees, erection of park shelters, construction of fire places, and by laying out recreational areas which may be used for baseball and tennis." (Chester Times)
Cambria County - Gallitzin State Forest
January 9, 1935: "A new fire tower is being erected at Penn View, four miles east of the Indiana-Blairsville intersection on the William Penn Highway. It will take the place of the beacon light tower and the beacon will be placed atop the fire tower, a distance of 80 feet. The work is being accomplished with Federal funds and by CCC workers." (Indiana Evening Gazette)
PENNSYLVANIA STATE CAPITOL BUILDING
no date - Press photo, Ron Kemnow Collection
April 13, 1921: "The state capital dome Tuesday was made a fire observation by the department of forestry and Thomas F. Burns was stationed there by Commissioner Pinchot to note appearance of forest fires in the mountains about Harrisburg. The dome rises more than 270 feet above the level of the Susquehanna and mountains in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York and Lebanon counties can be discerned with a strong glass. The department also has established on Peters mountains, Dauphin county, where several fire have occurred and this patrol will be able to see mountains in the Susquehanna and Juianta valleys." (Lock Haven Express)
February 16, 1922: "State capitol building may serve as a fire tower, it was stated this morning. Hope was held out that when the state forestry authorities post observers on the dome balcony the state police project for the installation of a telephone service from there may be realized." (The Morning Herald)
PENOBSCOT (MOUNTAIN TOP)
1923: The site was developed as a replacement for the Glen Summit station.
January 26, 1941: "The Mountain Top fire tower in Fairview township will receive the attention of 30 NYA youths for the next two months. The tower road, ditches, growth and brush will be tended, together with the telephone line extending to the tower grom Mountain Top." (Wilkes Barre Sunday Independent)
April 17, 1955: "With many brush and forest fires at this time of year, residents should know the location of the fire tower and where to call. The Penobscot Tower, located at Mountain Top, is operated by Austin Hauser. This tower covers the area south of Wilkes-Barre to Hunlock's Creek, and Bear Creek, White Haven and Nuaangola areas." (Wilkes Barre Sunday Independent)
1914 - Chief Forest Fire Warden Report, 1918
May 14, 1949: "Seventy workmen of the Pennsylvania Railroad including crews from Tionesta, worked Thursday afternoon and night to extinguish a series of forest fires at Walnut Bend, Henry's Bend, President and the north side of Rockmere. A locomotive was blamed for starting the fires, which were observed by the State fire observer at the Plumer tower. The observer phoned the Oil City P.R.R. offices for help." (The Titusville Herald)
POCONO MOUNTAIN (KNOB) (LAKE)
1915: "During the month of May, patrolman Shaller, stationed at Mount Pocono, opened a subscription for the purpose of building a look-out to increase the range of vision over the outlying regions. The boarding house proprietors readily subscribed the amount necessary for its erection. While serving as a fire observation tower for the patrolman, at the same time guests at the various inns will see in it an added attraction in the way of affording a view of the surrounding country. I made plans and specifications for its erection, and helped to erect it. At this time, I desire to commend the aggressiveness and industry of our patrolman at Mount Pocono, through whose activity the proposed look-out became an actuality. A small deficit was met by the Pocono Protective Fire Association, and the look-out became its property on completion." (Report of the Chief Forest Fire Warden for 1915)
1915: A 25-foot wood tower constructed.
March 12, 1950: "Work on the Pocono Mountain Auto Speedway will start early in April, as soon as the weather permits, George Perluke, speedway promoter, said last night. The speedway will be constructed on Route 115 at the foot of the Pocono Mountain Fire Tower in the scrub oak section of Effort Mountain, which is about 28 miles from Wilkes-Barre and five miles south of Blakeslee Corners." (Wilkes Barre Sunday Independent)
Monroe County - Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry - Delaware State Forest
October 15, 1925: "Deputy Forest Fire Warden Fred Petruzzi of this place, has completed the erection of the new steel fire observation tower for the state on Prospect mountain, near Smethport, the highest point in Pennsylvania. The new tower is 60 feet in height and commands a magnificent view of a vast area of forest land in this section of Pennsylvania. It bridges the gap between the state fire observation towers located at Kane and in the Black forest near Coudersport. During the forest fire seasons an observer will be on duty in the tower to report forest fires that become visible in the great radius he will be able to see. The tower is equipped with instruments to instantly determine the location of incipient fires and with telephone to notify the fire warden of the region. The new tower is located on the lands of Thomas Smith and is reached by road leading from the Devil's Elbow on the Smethport to Port Allegany highway." (McKean County Democrat)
October 13, 1927: "The watcher is now stationed atop the high steel forest fire tower at the pinnacle of Prospect hill, overlooking Smethport, the highest mountain peak in this section of the State. This is the annual fall forest fire season. The faithful keeper of a lonely vigil is in close contact with the fire towers near Kane and at Cherry Springs, near Coudersport, all forming part of the great network of towers which command every inch of Pennsylvania's vast forest region as part of the comprehensive plan of restoring Penn's woods to their former majesty. Range finding instruments and complete maps are part of every towerman's equipment and each observation tower is equipped with a telephone. The watcher is not only able to spot fires in the vast panorama which unfolds below his high lookout post at their very incipincy, but is further able to notify the fire warden living nearest the scene of the fire by telephone." (McKean Democrat)
April 12, 1928: "The watcher stationed atop the fire tower on nearby Prospect hill reported the first forest fire of the season in the Open Brook region last Friday. A force of fire fighters from Smethport was rushed to the scene and soon extinguished the rapidly spreading flames." (McKean Democrat)
July 24, 1930: "According to State figures, the elevation of the State forest fire observation tower on top of nearby Prospect Hill, one of the highest points in Northern Pennsylvania, is 2,560 feet. This is the highest tower in Northwestern Pennsylvania, being crowded closely by the one at Cherry Springs, on the Coudersport Pike, which is 2499 feet high." (McKean County Democrat)
June 15, 1939: "It is reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Forests and Waters may install a radio transmitter and receiver in the fire observation tower on lofty Prospect Hill, overlooking Smethport. Radio equipment has been installed in other sections of the state and inspectors are being supplied with portable units, which maintain contact with towers and district offices. It is expected that the new radio network will also fill a vital communication need in time of floods and other emergencies." (McKean County Democrat)
October 20, 1949: "With the official opening of the fall forest fire season season we wish to inform the public that the telephone service at the Prospect fire tower has been changed from Port Allegany central to Smethport, and any one wishing to contact the tower in the future may do so quickly by calling Smethport central and asking at 695-R-11. At night or at any time that the towerman is not on duty, all forest fires should be reported at once to Smethport, 687-J-3, I.E. Bailey is inspector for this area." (McKean County Democrat)
April 15, 1952: "The observer in the State Forest Fire Tower on Prospect Hill sounded a general alarm to area fire wardens and their crews. A number of men and students of Smethport High School responded and fought the blaze under the direction of State Fire Warden I.E. Bailey of Betula." (McKean County Democrat)
April 24, 1952: "Frank Oviatt of Betula, on duty at the Prospect Hill Fire Tower, called the Smethport Fire Department at 5:25 p.m. when the fire threatened to leap the pavement of Route 6 and burn toward the summit of lofty Prospect Hill, where a cottage owned by Ralph E. Burdick of Smethport is located. From his tower observation post, Mr. Oviatt had the unusual experience of looking directly down on the flames as they roared up toward him, almost in defiance of the state's elaborate warning system. A large crew, directed by State Fire Warden I.E. Bailey of Betula, waged a strenuous fight before the fire was extinguished at 6 p.m." (McKean County Democrat)
August 24, 1967: "A new fire tower, in the same location as the former tower, is under construction on Prospect Hill, overlooking East Smethport. The steel tower will be 82 feet 6 inches high, topped by an 8-foot high crows nest on its top. Steel girder work is being done by W.E. Caldwell from Kentucky. Mark Carter of Laceyville is building inspector, Lawrence D. Freer of Port Allegany is special foreman and Max Greely & Sons of Austin are general contractors. With an elevation of 2,495 feet above sea level, Prospect Hill is the highest point in this section of the country west of the main range of the Allegheny Mountains." (McKean County Democrat)