Dow Butte Lookout
US 241, CA 8
Dow Butte Lookout - 2008

Dow Butte Lookout - 2008 - courtesy of Ron Kemnow

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 241, CA 8 (view other lookouts in United States, California)
Date Registered October 15, 1997
Nominated by Ronald Johnson and Diane Minutilli, Public Affairs Tech., Eagle Lake RD
Location Lassen National Forest
Lassen County, California
Coordinates N 40° 44.431' W 120° 49.614' (view using Google Maps)
N 40° 44' 26" W 120° 49' 37"
N 40.740525° W 120.826906°
Elevation 6,705 ft (2,044 m)
Built 1939
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators Eagle Lake Ranger District


Dow Butte Lookout is the first to be listed in the NHLR that has been moved from its mountaintop and restored at a museum site. Originally constructed in 1939 by the CCC on the Lassen National Forest on the eastern side of the Sierras, it has a R5-C3 14’ x 14’ cab and was staffed until 1982. One of only five cabs of its kind in Region 5, it has been moved to the Eagle Lake interpretive site.

Additional Information submitted by Roger Neal, Engine Crew 1971-72: "In 1971 the engine crew from Bogard Ranger Station rebuilt the concrete stairs from the parking lot to the base of the tower. I was one of the fire crew “mules” carrying two five gallon buckets of cement at a time, up and down over the boulders at the base. The only good part was we started the pour from the top and it got to be a shorter carry as the day got hotter and hotter.

"The lookout was a woman retired school teacher. She removed the door from the outhouse so that she could “enjoy the million dollar view.” There was a single wire telephone line from the lookout to the Guard Station at Dow Wells. The station is also gone. In 1972, the Dow Wells station was manned with an engine crew. Since we were down in a hole, we could not receive radio communications from the dispatcher in Susanville. The lookout would crank the telephone which sometimes rang at the Guard station, and then relay information from dispatch. If that didn’t work, which was a regular occurrence, she would call us on the radio. Every spring, we had to walk the entire route of the cable, climb trees and splice repairs. In typical USFS wisdom, we always started at the bottom of Dow Butte and hike up the butte to the lookout."


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