July 29, 2013 photo of restored lookout
|Registry Numbers||US 394, CA 58 (view other lookouts in United States, California)|
|Date Registered||January 15, 2002|
|Nominated by||Brad Eells|
Palomar Mountain State Park
San Diego County, California
N 33° 20.070' W 116° 55.134' (view using Google Maps)
N 33° 20' 04" W 116° 55' 08"
N 33.334500° W 116.918900°
|Elevation||5,406 ft (1,648 m)|
|Administered by||California Department of Parks and Recreation - Palomar Mountain State Park|
|Cooperators||California Dept. of Forestry and Dept. of State Parks|
The California state lookout on Boucher Hill located in Palomar Mountain State Park (which is located adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest) was constructed in 1948 but has been inactive since 1983. The structure is an excellent example of the CDF 809R design on a 30 foot enclosed, K-brace tower with a 15x15 octagonal cab. The lookout is 1 of only 3 remaining examples of the pre-1950 unique, California only design. Boucher Hill has hosted a fire lookout since the early 1920’s. The original structure was a small, observation only cab on a 20-30 ft tower built by the Forest Service. This lookout was replaced in 1934 with an enclosed 30 ft wood tower and a 14x14 4AR cab. The lookout and site were transferred to the California Department of Forestry (CDF) in 1936. The current 1948 tower was updated in 1973 with aluminum siding and new windows in the lower tower living quarters.
A substantial structural stabilization/restoration project was completed by CAL FIRE and DGS during 2011-12 as mitigation for potential impacts to the lookout (an historic building) associated with a communication facility replacement project. The planning and design phase of the project included reviewing the original 809R model lookout tower plans as well as following the technical advice of the DPR historian assigned to the project who made key decisions during the project that ensured the historical integrity of the
structure was retained. In this manner the repairs all conformed to applicable guidance included in the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.
Forest Fire Lookout Association volunteers staff the lookout to provide fire detection and an interpretive experience for park visitors. The lookout is staffed every day during fire season.
Tower in 1920 and 1934
Twin Towers 1948
Photo from prior to restoration
2013 Volunteer Lookout Staff
CDF Lookout Operator Robert Bisbee - Mid 1940's
Photo courtesy of The Barbara Bradford Collection