Twin Butte Lookout, one of the many classy lookouts razed during the purge of the 1970s and 80s. Last staffed in 1965.

Twin Butte Lookout began life in about 1923 as a sawed-off tree with a guy perched on top with an alidade. After a few years of this, real accomodations were built, culminating in this fine cabin.

It stood guard over a wide swatch of the Sweet Home Ranger District east of Albany, Oregon. The elevation was 5,312 ft., and the location was atop one of the higher peaks of the so-called Old Cascades. .... By comparison, Oregon's highest Lookout, about 150 miles to the NE in the Blue Mountains, is 8,338 ft. high! It's Ireland Mountain Lookout, located 35 miles SSW of LaGrande in an interesting historic mining district, near Vinegar Hill and Sumpter.

This magnificently-crafted scale model may have been one of the creations of Richard Miller of Pleasant Hill (Oregon), who built several of these depictions of Oregon's lookouts.


Osborne Firefinder--- here's a picture of the centerpiece of all fire lookout towers for many decades (look closely into the windows of the model of Twin Buttes L.O. and you will see the Osborne Firefinder above the "Twin" in the sign).... The Firefinder was combined with three other key tools to get the job done. Those other three tools were the finder's "map board," a good pair of binoculars (usually 7x50s), and some kind of radio or telephone. Often one can discover old telephone wire or insulators deep in the forests heading downslope from an old lookout tower location. Usually such telephone wire would end at an old Forest Service Guard station or other such location.

Here is an excerpt from the minutes of the 1995 Forest Fire Lookout Association's Western Meeting in June: "...Ray Kresek closed out the indoor session with a presentation on the evolution of the firefinder and lookout structures. A brief history of the Osborne firefinder was given, with each model on display. Along with handouts, his 100-slide presentation depicted the firefinders used in the West, and various lookout cabin and tower designs of the world. Featured were: trees, from the simplest crow's nest to the 178' tall tree with a 20' tower and cab built in its top near Glouchester, West Australia; the "Guardian of the Gulch", a bell tower still present at Helena, Montana; the first forest lookout (Bertha Hill, ID 1902); one, two, three, and four-legged tower evolution; the first standard cabin design (D-6 cupola 1915); D-1 and D-3 log cupolas; some 30 original and unique designs; the first L-4 (1929), and 1930, 1933, and 1936 variations of the L-4; L-5 cab; L-6 (8' x 8'); and classic, spectacular, and precarious lookouts of the world...." My note: Ray Kresek is the author of at least two excellent books about our Fire Lookout heritage: one is "Fire Lookouts of the Northwest," YeGalleon Press, 1998, 414 big, picturesque pages.

Mr. W.B. Osborne was an early Forest Service employee, who also is credited with the invention of a specific kind of panoramic camera that was in heavy use on the mountaintops of the West during the 1930s.

SAND MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT, 5459 ft. located about 10 miles SW of Hoodoo Ski Area was a favorite of my college friend Doug Newman, who worked hard for its preservation, and for the preservation of a number of the lookouts in the central Cascades. He wrote a book titled FINDING FIRE about those lookouts, full of thorough research and rare photos (available from the Lane County Historical Society). Doug is the man in the center of the picture, taken in 1990 inside the scenic lookout. Sadly, Doug passed away in 1992.


Back to Mt. Pisgah Lookout Page

Back to Lookout Towers Main Page

Back to Oregonphotos Main Page


Page Last Reviewed 11/30/2021