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Home > Idaho > Coolin vicinity > Lookout Mountain Fire Lookout, Cavanaugh Bay 132, Coolin, Bonner County, ID



Drawings


Item Title


Location
Cavanaugh Bay 132, Coolin vicinity, ID

Find maps of Coolin, ID


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1933.

Notes
Survey number HABS ID-119
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N339).
0.1996
Significance: The first fire lookouts were nothing more than that of a tent or a board nailed to a tree. But before the turn of the century the need for a permanent structure was realized and construction of lookouts began. It wasn't until 1929 that the ultimate answer came with the L-2 model. Its 12-by-14 foot frame complete with framed glass cost only $500.00 to build. It was the first model to become a standard design used. The L-2 model came to Lookout Mountain in 1929. Before that, a man by the name of Elmer Berg was the first to use (what later became known as Lookout Mountain) the Mountain for fire watch. Each morning for two months he would fill his pack board with telephone insulators and fifty pounds of wire, and set off from Priest Lake. Usually he would make it in time to sit and look for a half-hour before heading for home, but this form of fire watch didn't live up to the USFS motto, "Spot Em Quick, and hit Em Fast." The L-2 was built with a cupola (a small second story) accessed by a ladder. The Cupola was the fire watch location with the first floor being used for sleeping and eating. The Cupola had glass on all four sides and made fire watch easier than from ground level. A Bosworth Fire Finder was placed within the cupola. The Fire Finder was an important yet complex instrument used to define exactly where a fire was located. Once a fire was located, a person could radio down and notify fire fighters. The L-2 fire lookout was used until 1952 when a second lookout was built and celebrated its 25th anniversary by falling down. A third was built in 1977 but began to sag by its 5th anniversary. In the 1980's the use of fire lookouts began to decline due to the use of airplane and satellite photography. By 1990 very few fire lookouts were used, and most were abandoned. Due to governmental cut backs and the limited budgets of the US Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands, fire lookouts that were not being used were basically left to rot due to the fact that there were no funds for maintenance. The L-2 that was built on Lookout Mountain in 1929 still exists today, though in somewhat bad shape and in danger of natural demolition. It has been looked at as an asset to North Idaho and as a possible restoration project.

Related Names
Truex, Jevon, Delineator


Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

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