Tuesday, August 16, 2022

EVENT: History and Lore of the Northern Adirondack Fire Towers

Mount Arab fire tower

Marty Podskoch will give a PowerPoint and storytelling presentation on his book, Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, The Northern District, on Thursday, August 18th at 7 PM at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown. The book contains information and photographs about the fire towers in the northern part of the Adirondack Park that include St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, and Essex counties.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fires raged out of control in many of New York State’s vast wooded areas. The years 1903 and 1908 were particularly disastrous, and because of public outcry for protection from the devastation, the state began a rigorous fire and prevention and control program, including the building of fire towers. The first state fire towers were constructed of trees and logs with an open platform built on top. Each tower was equipped with a telephone, a map, and binoculars. When smoke was sighted, an observer would call in the location of the fire to a forest ranger. These wooden towers were replaced with steel towers and the use of towers greatly reduced the number of acres destroyed by fires because they were extinguished at the early stages.

Doors open at 6:30 PM. $8 fee/free for members of the museum. Covid-19 vaccination is strongly recommended and masks are encouraged. Masks will be available. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Mount Arab fire tower, Almanack archive

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

5 Responses

  1. Peter Henderson says:

    “Doors open at 6:30 PM. $8 fee/free for members of the museum. ”

    I assume this should say “for non-members” Right Sharp??

  2. louis curth says:

    Good stuff. Marty has many stories to tell from his interviews with those of us who lived it and depended on those towers to help us keep the Adirondacks safe from fire.

    My first memories as the ranger assigned to the Glens Falls district, include the morning phone chat with Observer Ray Mallory atop the Prospect Mt. tower. The drought of the 1960s was in full swing, and when Ray warned me that it was clear enough to see the Capitol building in Albany, I had a pretty good idea what was ahead for me as the day warmed up – fire!

  3. Charlie Stehlin says:

    This fire tower reminds me quite much of the one atop Blue Mountain, what with the ranger station down below nearby.

  4. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Fire is not much of a threat presently in the Adirondacks but I’m certain those days will be coming. It was predicted twenty years ago that the northeast was going to fare quite well compared to other parts of the country regards global warming conditions, and so far this is holding true. All of the forests we have up here can only be helping matters but it’s only a matter of time where it wont matter no more as the planet continues to cook. The warmer it gets the faster the cooking process. I wonder when the republicans are going to start coming down to earth on this matter, and I don’t say that to stir a fire (pun intended), I say this because it is what I think upon. When are they going to act? I’m guessing, ‘when their wallets run dry.’

  5. Mike says:

    Charlie, I think the one pictured is on Mt Arab near Conifer NY( suburb of Piercefield NY) View is looking over Mr Arab Lake and Eagle Crag Lake.

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