Big Pocono Lookout (1921)
US 56, PA 1
July 2015 photo by Jan Braidech

July 2015 photo by Jan Braidech

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 56, PA 1 (view other lookouts in United States, Pennsylvania)
Date Registered March 11, 1993
Nominated by Stephen J. Cummings, Director, Pennsylvania Chapter, FFLA
Location Big Pocono State Park
Monroe County, Pennsylvania
Coordinates N 41° 02.514' W 075° 21.150' (view using Google Maps)
N 41° 02' 31" W 075° 21' 09"
N 41.041900° W 075.352500°
Elevation 2,083 ft (635 m)
Built 1921
Removed 2017
Administered by Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry
Cooperators District 19, Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania DER

Description

Big Pocono Tower is typical of fire tower construction in Pennsylvania between 1914 and 1939. Built in 1921 it is believed to be the oldest tower still in service (there are some older structures standing, but they are inactive). Located in a state park atop Big Pocono Mountain adjacent to Camelback Ski Area, the steel tower with 7’X7’ cab is only 21 ft. tall. An unusual feature at the site is a helicopter fire attack base used during fire season. Owned by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the tower is also a focus of attention of the Pocono Forestry Association, which may be the oldest private forest protection association in the U.S. (est. 1901).

In 2017, the tower was disassembled as part of Pennsylvania's plan to upgrade its fire tower network. The tower will be replaced with a taller 40-foot tower. A wayside panel with information on the original tower will be installed as part of the upgrade project. The 1921 tower is being relocated to Grey Towers National Historic Site, the home of pioneering forester Gov. Gifford Pinchot, where it will be refurbished and re-erected in 2018.

Map

Change Basemap

Photos

1921 tower disassembled for relocation in September 2017

1921 tower disassembled for relocation in September 2017 - courtesy of John Motz

1921 tower disassembled for relocation in September 2017

1921 tower disassembled for relocation in September 2017 - courtesy of John Motz

Construction for tower replacement in September 2017

Construction for tower replacement in September 2017 - courtesy of John Motz

New tower foundation in September 2017

New tower foundation in September 2017 - courtesy of John Motz

Visit Reports

September 21, 2017: John Motz

Condition

Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? No Response
Condition of wood OK? No Response
Stairs OK? No Response
Glass intact? No Response
Good condition? Yes
Comments: Tower erected in 1921 is being replaced with a newer shinier tower. Bureau of Forestry says the original tower is being relocated to Grey Towers (Gifford Pinchot home) where it will be refurbished this fall and re-erected next spring and open for interpretation as part of an agreement with PHMC and the USFS.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No Response

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No Response
Directions to tower signed? No Response

Staffing

Staffed? Sometimes
Tower is primarily staffed in the spring. Fall staffing is based on weather/need.

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes
Lori McKeen with USFS at Grey Towers is seeking volunteers for refurbishing the 'old' tower before they put it back up.

July 18, 2015: Jan Braidech

Condition

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

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? Yes

Staffing

Staffed? No

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? No Response
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? No Response

Other Comments

Comments I must admit that at first I was "unimpressed with this tower" UNTIL I soon realized that there was no need for it to be any higher! Wow! With our high-powered binoculars we (my boyfriend, Andy was with me)could see a lot! Even without the use of the tower, we actually saw a blimp in the distance near High Point monument in very distant Montague, NJ and more in the forefront nearer the Delaware River, we could see Catfish fire tower! (I only wish I had my Canon 50X zoom with me to be able to capture the blimp, High Point, and Catfish all in the same frame...) <br /> <br />Lots of big beautiful butterflies amongst milkweed plants... Not sure if they were Monarch or not. <br /> <br />We also were able to view Route 80 with cars moving on the roadway... (Thank God we at least had Andy's high-powered binoculars with us!