As a young man growing up in the southern Catskills, Barry Knight loved to hike to nearby fire towers. Later on, when he learned of the group that was restoring and staff-ing lookouts he became a volunteer observer on Outlook Mountain. It wasn’t long before Knight wanted to construct a tower on his family homestead on Ashokan Mountain. He learned about Marty Podskoch (a local New York lookout author and FFLA member) who was an authority on fire tow-ers in New York who might be able to tell him where to find a surplus fire tower. Podskoch told him that the Petersburg Mountain fire tower had been moved in recent years and the new owner might be willing to part with it. Contacts were made and in short order Knight became the owner of literally a pile of tower parts. Now a new story begins. The original Petersburg Mountain fire tower, a 68’ Inter-national Derrick model with a 7’x7’ cab, had been built by the CCC in 1940 for the New York Dept. of Conservation. It was located southwest of Albany and staffed until 1971. After seeing service as a radio tower, it was replaced and sold in 1999. The cab was gone, but the steel was good and the 30
pieces were restorable with a wire brush and elbow grease (a tale of its own). After obtaining a copy of “Basic Steel Tower Plans, 1937), Knight and a small group of friends went to work, first trucking the steel home, and then carrying each piece (the largest was 144 lbs.) from the end of the road up the 375’ to the top of the hill. Next came 34 bags (80 lb.) of cement. Then they began the process of putting the usable steel back together, piece by piece. By 2006, the job was completed.
The recycled Petersburg Mountain tower, know known as the Knightower is 40’ tall with a 14’x14’ wood deck and outstanding view of the famed Ashokan Reservoir and the Catskill Mountains.