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Early 1920s Fire Tower Lookouts

Location #1264
City: Algonquin Park
Basic MemberPublic
Status: Abandoned
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Created By:clay70
Creation Date: 3/26/2010
Last Updated: 3/26/2010
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In the early 1920's, back in Algonquin Park's earlier days, the use of fire towers to spot forest fires became the norm. Most of these were made of wood and were about 40-60 ft high. Early forest rangers would do patrols and climb the mountains and fire towers perched on top of the mountains to gain the best possible view of the area in search of fires.

One such tower was called Summit Tower. At 102 feet tall it was the tallest wooden fire tower built in the province's history. It was built in the 1920's by Tom McCormick, the Chief Forest Ranger in Algonquin, by the summit peak near the old Booth Railway at Hunter Twp. It was located close to the nearby sawmill village of Brule Lake.

Tom actually knew famed painter, Tom Thomson, and referred to him as a bum. At one point Thomson was a forest ranger as well as a painter. Thomson's murder story is under "Mowat", a ghost town also written about under Algonquin Park.

Another tower, one of the very first in the province, was built on top of a tall white pine at Smoke Lake. Both photos are pictured in the gallery.

Other towers shown on the 1922 map of the park were: Depot Lake, Trout Lake, Lake Travers, Wilson Lake, Grand Lake, Indian River, Martino Lake, Booth's Farm on Farm Lake, Lake Lavieille, Little Cauchon Lake, Big Crow Lake, Rock Lake, Cache Lake, Smoke Lake (2 towers), Island Lake, Southworth Lake, White Trout Lake, Osler Lake, Manitou Lake, Gibsons Lake and Tims Lake. Summit Tower (the tallest wooden fire tower built in Ontario) at Brule Lake must have been erected shortly after 1922. The supposed wooden tower at Lister Township also must have been erected post-1922.

Most of these were wooden lookouts, though a few were steel construction. By 1960 there were only 9 towers in use in the park (all steel construction). Only one tower in the park remains to this day- the steel tower at Big Crow Lake.

To see a detailed map circa 1922 of the entire park showing all the wooden towers at the time check this link: http://www.markinthepark.com/downloads/algonquin_park_maps/1922/1922_cnr_algonquin_park_map.jpg

For more info on these and the 320 other towers in Ontario go to: Ontario's Fire Tower Lookouts.

Look up..way up
Early 1920s Fire Tower Lookouts
Created on:6/30/2010
Created by: clay70
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