Graham Mountain Fire Tower
US 105, NY 5

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 105, NY 5 (view other lookouts in United States, New York)
Date Registered March 6, 1995
Nominated by Bob Spear, FFLA and NHLR representative
Location Mount Hope Township
Orange County, New York
Coordinates N 41° 26.460' W 074° 34.464' (view using Google Maps)
N 41° 26' 28" W 074° 34' 28"
N 41.441000° W 074.574400°
Elevation 1,300 ft (396 m)
Administered by NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Cooperators NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the Highlands Group of the Forest Fire Lookout Association

Description

The Graham Mountain Fire Tower was originally erected by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on Pocotello Mountain (locally called Sayers Hill) but was dismantled and moved to its present site nearby in 1948. The 60’ Aermotor LS-40 tower with 7x7’ steel cab was a key link in a three state group of towers (Culvers, NJ and Buckhorn, PA). No longer in service, both the tower and the ground house have received some maintenance from the NY/NJ Highlands Group of the Forest Fire Lookout Association.

History notes from Bob Spear FFLA Historian, fflahistorian@gmail.com: "The access road to the Graham Mountain Fire tower is off "Mountain Road" below Otisville, NY. It usually has a secured gate on it because it also provides access to radio antennas that are also located up there on the Ridge. The neighbor you mentioned nearby has nothing to say about the use of the access road to the tower, it only borders his property- not on it. His main concern in the past were cars parked along his fence line on Mountain road, which is not all that wide and has a deep drainage ditch, grass filled along the side. To get to Graham tower, I always went a bit farther north on Mountain road to the next road on the left which takes you in a winding fashion up toward the top. There was an abandoned house up there at one time where you could park, and from that it was only about a ten minute fairly level walk over to the road that leads to the tower. Note* This also may be private property; but I never encountered an issue with it. Graham at one time was a strategic Fire Lookout on the Shawangunk ridge which was always prone to bad fires, there, in the Wurtsboro, NY area and was in a position to work fires in the volatile Cherrytown Road region which is extremely thick with growth. From Graham fire tower it is almost exactly 15 miles South to the High Point Monument, the highest elevation in New Jersey 1800+ feet elevation. When I was active as a Firewarden in both States I often heard the operator at Graham fire tower over the radio, along with Balsam Lake, Mohonk, and Sterling. Sterling fire tower and Graham fire tower are identical "sister towers" Sterling was built in 1922 and for an accurate date of Graham, refer to Bill Starr's excellent history of NY State fire towers. From Graham fire tower, one looks directly Southwest into Port Jervis on the Delaware River's bend to the South. The thick woods in Sullivan County has always been a rife area for big woods fires, and further out is the Poconos of Pennsylvania, in the very faint distance can be seen Big Pocono Mountain, and to the East, New York City's skyline. I always had nearly as much a fondness for Graham fire tower as I did my own at Sterling, but property disputes over the area always left it uncertain as to who owned it. I have only been inside the ground cabin twice in all those years, once when Ranger Dave Mead set up housekeeping there for awhile and another time when I visited with Ranger Greg Tyrrell. My key I had for Sterling tower's gate also use to open the fire cache locker under the cabin, most fire wardens had keys for these things for emergencies. Today, Graham still surveys much of the same vast GREEN of Ulster and Sullivan Counties and the more urbanized areas in Orange County. Fire is STILL very much in evidence here when conditions permit."

Map

Change Basemap

Visit Reports

July 29, 2004: Bob Spear

Condition

Needs paint? Yes
Shutters OK? No Response
Condition of wood OK? No Response
Stairs OK? No Response
Glass intact? Yes

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? Yes
Other enroachments? NYSDEC Forest Rangers maintain the ground cabin but not the tower

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? Yes
Comments? Possibly will post sign in or near ground cabin if Ranger support can be obtained

Staffing

Staffed? No
Not regularly staffed since 1989...abandoned

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes
Possibility of renovation being explored. If interested, contact the reporting party.