space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From My Window
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Baxter Leads Bulldogs In Win Over Sturgeon Bay
* Cougars & Marines Continue to Roll
* Thunder Continue Winning Ways on Weekend Homestand
* Bulldog Bowling Teams Off to a Great Start
* Wausaukee off to Fast Start for 2018-19 Season

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

From My Window

Issue Date: July 26, 2018

Fire Lookout Towers



By Jane Thibodeau Martin,



**********

I was driving from Peshtigo back to Halder last weekend after attending the funeral visitation for an old friend's mother. Since I was alone and not in a hurry, I took the slightly longer route west on highway 64 just for old time's sake. On my way through the tiny hamlet of Mountain, I noticed a sign for a fire tower.

That prompted the memory of a drawing I made as a very small child, which my parents saved for me. I created it after my Dad took me to visit a fire tower located near Peshtigo. I was probably four or five, but my childish drawing is recognizable, the stilt-like legs of the tower topped with the tiny "house" lookout. I was obviously very impressed with the visit and the towers still fascinate me.

As a teenager, I remember the one in Peshtigo as a destination for what was called either "snipe" or "yeti" hunting, depending on your current age. It was located just off a two-track "road" but I don't remember exactly where it was - seems like it was south of Peshtigo, maybe off Hale Road? Hopefully a Times reader will remind me " and I'd love to know what year the tower was taken down, since all I recall during my teen years was the concrete "stilt" foundations.

Since I am not aware of anything similar in Oklahoma, I'd sort of forgotten about fire towers. So after I got home, I dug into some websites and found there are maps showing the list of existing towers in northern Wisconsin. There are 52 of them listed (some of these may already be gone,) and several not far from Timesland were indicated on the map, including in Dunbar and Goodman. There's also one indicated close to Mosinee, near my new stomping grounds.

The web site I looked at said most of the towers were built in the 30's and early 40's. At one time there were 119 total in Wisconsin, later it was reduced to 72. Their purpose was to protect valuable timber resources, so as you may expect the remaining 52 or so towers are all located in the northern 2/3rds of the state. They were attended by a lookout during high risk fire times " especially, one web site said, early spring.

Towers are all rapidly being decommissioned now. I saw a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) bulletin that said the aging tower steel is deteriorating and the wood is in need of replacement. It would cost more than $25 million to address the maintenance needs. Some towers are being taken down, others secured by removing or covering the access ladder or stairs to prevent people from climbing the towers. The task of monitoring fires is being transferred to aircraft, satellites and other higher-tech methods " since the need to protect our forests and the wildlife in them still exists. Data cited said 90% of forest fires are now called in by private citizens using cell phones, sometimes even before a spotter could see the smoke of the fire.

The job of the spotter up in the lofty perch was to scan continuously for smoke and immediately sound an alarm if any was seen. Presumably this caused fires to be put out before they could cause wide-spread destruction " and if you have watched news coverage of the devastating fires sweeping the mountain states and the west coast, you can appreciate just how fast and how far these fires can spread under the right conditions. Of course the towers were never attended in winter " besides the fire danger being low, the conditions up in the tower would have been unbearable.

I don't recall seeing power lines to the towers, but maybe in later years they were electrified. But in the beginning, the watcher probably had a rudimentary desk and chair, a spotting scope or binoculars, flashlights, compasses to help ground crews locate the fire, and a radio. I bet they had a bucket for the necessities of life and carried up their own water and food. No internet to entertain them, so it was probably a pretty boring way to spend a day. I don't know if any of the towers had night watchers.

I read a fascinating interview with a woman spotter. She said the house on top was seven feet by seven feet, and she found the silent and solitary time there very relaxing except when a fire was spotted. She also said she was able to spot and report fires as far away as 40 miles under perfect weather conditions. She was disappointed when she lost her job as a spotter, but said in 2015 towers were only staffed on 17 total days.

The tower in Mountain has apparently been added to a register of historic towers, and is open to the public. A web site shows pictures from the lookout itself, so if you can handle 100 feet of steps you can go up and take in an amazing view. I am adding this to my "to do" list for an upcoming trip back to the Peshtigo area. One web site said there is a second tower on the register of historic towers, hopefully indicating it will be spared from dismantling, but it wasn't clear which one that was.

If you know where there is a fire tower, take a little kid there and show them some history, as we are losing our towers rapidly. Soon towers will become a rarity like the good old-fashioned Wisconsin red wooden barns.



Readers: If any of you know of someone who has a blacksmith anvil they are willing to sell please have them get in contact with me. I am trying to buy one as a gift.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
12-13-2018Front Page
Christmas Spirit

12-13-2018Front Page
BPM Inc Proposes New Wastewater Partnership

12-13-2018Front Page
M&M Area In Top 10 For Small Business Revolution

12-13-2018Front Page
Committee To Negotiate Drees Center Class Fees

12-13-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Received Deed For Fire Cemetery, Not Riverside

12-13-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Taps Jodi Karas For Clerk/Treasurer Job

12-13-2018Community - Coleman
Village Pound Christmas Parade Big Success

12-13-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman School Earns Spectrum Excellence Award

12-13-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Senior Citizens Luncheon

12-13-2018Community - Crivitz
Country Gospel Jam in Dec. 21

12-13-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Schools Holiday Break

12-13-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Free Dinner

12-13-2018Community - Wausaukee
Holly Jolly Winning Ticket in Niagara

12-13-2018Community - Wausaukee
Supper With Santa Dec. 20

12-13-2018Community - Wausaukee
Presbyterian Church Kids Club on Dec. 16

12-13-2018Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane Chair Returns "Public Comment" Time

12-13-2018Sports
Baxter Leads Bulldogs In Win Over Sturgeon Bay

12-13-2018Sports
Cougars & Marines Continue to Roll

12-13-2018Sports
Thunder Continue Winning Ways on Weekend Homestand

12-13-2018Sports
Bulldog Bowling Teams Off to a Great Start

12-13-2018Perspectives
From My Window

12-13-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

12-13-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

12-13-2018Obituaries
Joanne Behrend

12-13-2018Obituaries
Patrick C. Blohowiak

12-13-2018Obituaries
Joan H. Carter

12-13-2018Obituaries
Dennis J. Collard

12-13-2018Obituaries
Paul D. Ecker

12-13-2018Obituaries
Mabel A. Eichhorn

12-13-2018Obituaries
Peter J. Geniesse

12-13-2018Obituaries
Michael "Mike" Lesperance

12-13-2018Obituaries
Marilyn J. Lieburn

12-13-2018Obituaries
Alan E. McKeefry

12-13-2018Obituaries
Roman J. Miller Sr.

12-13-2018Obituaries
Mary L. Myers

12-13-2018Obituaries
Kenneth P. Rabbie

12-13-2018Obituaries
Walter Schenkoski

12-13-2018Obituaries
Theresa M. Stanoch

12-13-2018Obituaries
Gwendolyn Zimmerman

12-13-2018Obituaries
Taira M. Zimmerman

12-06-2018Obituaries
Eldora L. Abel

12-06-2018Obituaries
Gary D. Backman

12-06-2018Obituaries
Kathy M. Chaltry

12-06-2018Obituaries
Darlene L. Cruz

12-06-2018Obituaries
Donald J.Dupont

12-06-2018Obituaries
Thad O. Eack

12-06-2018Obituaries
Germaine P. Fetterly

12-06-2018Obituaries
Lorraine J. Garvey

12-06-2018Obituaries
Ronnie L. Gehling

12-06-2018Obituaries
Lorraine R. Gusick

12-06-2018Obituaries
Melvin Dale Haffeman

12-06-2018Obituaries
Gerald L. Heling

12-06-2018Obituaries
Rosalee M. McKibben

12-06-2018Obituaries
William D. Merritt

12-06-2018Obituaries
John J. Moker

12-06-2018Obituaries
Terry Lee Parrett

12-06-2018Obituaries
David C. Polashek

12-06-2018Obituaries
William J. Roddy

12-06-2018Obituaries
Loretta M. Shehow

12-06-2018Obituaries
Marian D. Stillman

12-06-2018Obituaries
Amos Robert Van Vooren

12-06-2018Obituaries
Carol J. Wesolowski

12-06-2018Obituaries
Joseph H. Westberg

12-06-2018Sports
Wausaukee off to Fast Start for 2018-19 Season

12-06-2018Sports
Peshtigo Has Strong Week With Two Wins

12-06-2018Sports
VanVooren Heads MONLPC Large Team

12-06-2018Sports
Crivitz Leads Football & Volleyball All Conference Voting

12-06-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

12-06-2018Perspectives
From our readers

12-06-2018Perspectives
From My Window

12-06-2018Community - Wausaukee
Town Of Wausaukee Adopts $474,754 Levy

12-06-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee DAR Award Winner

12-06-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Red Hats To Meet Dec. 13

12-06-2018Community - Crivitz
Netzel-Zenz Post Christmas Dinner

12-06-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Church Free Dinner

12-06-2018Community - Crivitz
13 at Even Monday Cards

12-06-2018Community - Crivitz
CAWC Meeting Dec. 13 at Wood's

12-06-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Church Christmas Event

12-06-2018Community - Coleman
Many Appear in Coleman Court

12-06-2018Community - Coleman
Hillside At Pound Children's Musical

12-06-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utilities To Meet Tues., Dec. 10

12-06-2018Front Page
Sworn In

12-06-2018Front Page
New Economic Development Job For County Is Possible

12-06-2018Front Page
Town Of Peshtigo Hears Building Inspector Issues

12-06-2018Front Page
City Officially Has Deed For Riverside Cemetery

12-06-2018Front Page
Expect Medical Examiner To Be Named On Dec. 18

11-29-2018Obituaries
Terry V. Anderson

11-29-2018Obituaries
Beth A. Birr

11-29-2018Obituaries
Sylvester A. Bellow

11-29-2018Obituaries
Bernard Camber

11-29-2018Obituaries
Clayton J. Clark

11-29-2018Obituaries
Kenneth P. Coakley

11-29-2018Obituaries
Kenneth L. Crawford, Sr.

11-29-2018Obituaries
Herman F. Haag

11-29-2018Obituaries
Alma M. Hermansen

11-29-2018Obituaries
Madonna T. Lambert

11-29-2018Obituaries
Herlene E. Lasley

11-29-2018Obituaries
Wilford Lund

11-29-2018Obituaries
Carole C. Moloney

11-29-2018Obituaries
Marie H. Mueller

11-29-2018Obituaries
Barbara A. Oehler

11-29-2018Obituaries
Donald L. Phelps

11-29-2018Obituaries
Hildegarde Mary Polfus

11-29-2018Obituaries
Orion Reynebeau

11-29-2018Obituaries
Jodi L. Schomer

11-29-2018Obituaries
Wayne Schoepke, Sr.

11-29-2018Obituaries
Michael F. Schroeder

11-29-2018Obituaries
Walter Simonson

11-29-2018Obituaries
Lucille S. Suennen

11-29-2018Obituaries
Roger Suley

11-29-2018Obituaries
Ruth L. Tenaglia

11-29-2018Obituaries
Elsie P. Wallace

11-29-2018Obituaries
Roger L. Williams

11-29-2018Sports
DNR investigating The illegal shooting of Elk

11-29-2018Sports
Thunder Back On Track With Two Wins Over Marquette

11-29-2018Sports
Bulldogs Beat Chargers On Gullicksen Last Second Shot

11-29-2018Sports
Marines Top Bulldogs In Double OT

11-29-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

11-29-2018Perspectives
From My Window

11-29-2018Community - Wausaukee
Spaces Available at Christmas in Park

11-29-2018Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane FD Open House Successful

11-29-2018Community - Wausaukee
Counseling Agency Gift Distribution

11-29-2018Community - Crivitz
Legion Christmas Dinner Dec. 19th

11-29-2018Community - Crivitz
CCE Thanks CPR Providers

11-29-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Library Bake Sale Dec. 7

11-29-2018Community - Crivitz
Free Dinner at Crivitz Church

11-29-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Elementary Lists Perfect Attendance

11-29-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Middle School Quarter Honors, Perfect Attendance Listed

11-29-2018Community - Coleman
Students Named to Coleman High School 1st Quarter Honor Roll

11-29-2018Community - Coleman
Perfect Attendance Announced for Coleman High School Students

11-29-2018Front Page
Christmas Season

11-29-2018Front Page
Cut Wausaukee Tax Rate By 60 Cents Per $1,000

11-29-2018Front Page
Former Coach Faces Trial On Sexual Contact Charges

11-29-2018Front Page
Four Hangar Owners Suing Over Airport Lease Terms

11-29-2018Front Page
Marinette Menominee Make Top 20 For $500,000 Grant

11-21-2018Obituaries
Mary A. Biernasz

11-21-2018Obituaries
Francis A. Bowan

11-21-2018Obituaries
Dolores M. Zuleger-Boyer

11-21-2018Obituaries
Charles Burcham

11-21-2018Obituaries
Catherine M. Cudnohoski

11-21-2018Obituaries
Martha K. Dennis

11-21-2018Obituaries
James Drewel

11-21-2018Obituaries
Joan V. Dzekute

11-21-2018Obituaries
Robert B. Froehlich

11-21-2018Obituaries
Joseph F. Hudak

11-21-2018Obituaries
Marian M. Jones

11-21-2018Obituaries
Dorthy Knuth

11-21-2018Obituaries
Stephanie Newell

11-21-2018Obituaries
Lorraine A. Schmidt

11-21-2018Sports
Mary A. Thomsen


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think it was a good thing that the Green Bay Packers fired Coach McCarthy?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites