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As It Was: National Register Lists Pearsoll Peak Lookout as Historic Place

In the early 1900s, the Siskiyou National Forest had more than 70 forest lookout stations on Southwest Oregon mountaintops.  Pearsoll Peak is the only one of them to make the National Register of Historic Places.

The existing structure isn’t the first one built on Pearsoll, about 12 miles west of Selma.  The peak became a vantage point for observation in 1919, when a tent provided the only shelter during fire season.  By the 20s, prefabricated lookout cabins provided better housing, but they were subject to damage from snow and lightning strikes.  

In 1936, mules hauled a new prefabricated cabin to Pearsoll Peak to replace one beaten down by the elements.  The new cabin fell into disuse in the 70s, when airplane-spotting and new technology reduced the need for mountaintop lookouts.  Wind, snow and vandalism nearly collapsed the useless structure, but a history preservation society decided to restore it. 

Local volunteers, working with the Sand Mountain Society, based in Portland, restored the lookout cabin in 1994.  It received the historical-places designation the following year.

Today, Pearsoll Peak lookout is a vacation-rental cabin.

Sources:  Hahn, Barbara. "Lookout Earns Lofty History." Grants Pass Daily Courier, 30 Oct. 1995, p. 1.  Kemnow, Ron. "Pearsoll Peak." Forest Lookouts, edited by Ron Kemnow, Forest Fire Lookout Association. Oregon Lookouts, https://oregonlookouts.weebly.com/pearsoll-peak.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2018.

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Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.