Marengo Lookout
US 1271, WI 52
May 2005 photo

May 2005 photo - courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 1271, WI 52 (view other lookouts in United States, Wisconsin)
Date Registered April 3, 2018
Nominated by Tyler Bormann
Location Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Ashland County, Wisconsin
Coordinates N 46° 22.080' W 090° 48.442' (view using Google Maps)
N 46° 22' 05" W 090° 48' 26"
N 46.367992° W 090.807361°
Elevation 1,420 ft (433 m)
Built 1987
Administered by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Cooperators U.S. Forest Service

Description

No less than three lookout towers have stood atop this point within the ancient Penokee Mountain range of Northern Wisconsin. The first, a 100-foot Wisconsin Standard model with external cage-protected ladder, was built in 1939 and destroyed in September of 1941 during a fall windstorm. Photographs of the wreckage show a twisted mass, with the heavy steel legs of the tower broken off from the footings.

The mountain presumably stood vacant until approximately 1949 by which time photographs show a replacement had been erected. Geodetic Survey notes indicate the second Marengo tower was a 65-foot tall steel structure with an enclosed cab. This tower served until the late 1980s when according to a local resident, the surrounding vegetation simply grew up too tall rendering the 65-footer inadequate. In 1987, the third and present structure was erected, a 100-foot stair-type tower, likely an Aermotor MC-39. The DNR very commonly moved and rebuilt towers but by the 1980s was replacing towers on an extremely limited basis. It’s likely that the current Marengo Tower was deemed surplus elsewhere in the state, disassembled and rebuilt to replace the previous shorter structure. Located on National Forest System lands, the tower has always been owned and operated by the state and saw active service until 2015 when Wisconsin decommissioned its lookout network.

Map

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Photos

Original tower damaged by 1941 windstorm

Original tower damaged by 1941 windstorm - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Original tower damaged by 1941 windstorm

Original tower damaged by 1941 windstorm - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

1949 view looking west

1949 view looking west - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources