Slip into Nature’s Rhythm of Passing Clouds
Now restored as overnight shelters, fire lookout towers are a long tradition of in the pinnacles of the American Northwest, with the first erected after the Great Fire in 1910. Built for early detection and suppression of forest fires, these structures offer prime viewing sight lines of the surrounding landscape and provided shelter for the watchmen who lived there. Most are made of wood but are extremely durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions. However, most of the towers became obsolete after the 1960s as they were replaced by radios, aircraft, and finally global positioning systems (GPS) with satellite technology.
Park Butte Lookout was built in 1932 and was in service until 1961. Its style is known as an L-4, a square fourteen by fourteen-foot (about 4.27 by 4.27-meter) wood cab atop heavy timber posts with a cedar-shingled gable roof and operable shutters protecting a full width of ribbon windows at each side. It was the most popular live-in lookout design and one that was replicated across the Northwest. It perches majestically on the peak of boulders, like Foucault’s perfect panopticon, watching all of nature from its roost.
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