July 10, 1939: "One truck of the Kern county forestry department stood by Saturday afternoon for a 400-acre grass fire just west of the county line in San Louis Obispo county. The blaze was near the Cottonwood Pass and was located on a range of 3000 acres. The Annette lookout spotted the fire and reported to the local forestry headquarters." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 14, 1940: "New items added were Annette lookout station." (Bakersfield Californian)
October 19, 1940: "Kenneth H. Davies and wife lease to county of Kern for term of 15 years portion NW 1/4 section 20, 26-17, for purpose of fire lookout station. Accepted." (Bakersfield Californian)
September 22, 1953: "Kern County officials searched today for a disgruntled hunter who shot and wounded a U.S. Forest ranger after the ranger refused to sell a deer he had killed.
Arlen Barber, fire lookout on Bald Mountain, reported he was shot in the arm when he turned down the man's $25 offer for the deer.
He said the hunter asked to see his .22 caliber pistol and when Barber handed over the weapon the hunter shot him in the arm and fled." (Humboldt Standard)
September 24, 1953: "Forest Service fire lookout Arlen Barber admitted today that he invented a story of being shot and wounded by "an irate deer hunter" in the Sierra east of here.
The 22-year-old Sequoia National Forest employee reported to headquarters Monday that he was shot by a hunter who became angry when he refused his offer to buy a deer for $25.
Superintendent Eldon Ball said Barber broke down and admitted the story was phony after rangers and sheriff's deputies requested that he submit to a lie detector test.
Barber told them he accidentally wounded himself while firing the weapon at crows. He said he was using his right arm as a pistol rest when a bullet plowed into it. Ball said Barber has been suspended temporarily pending completion of an investigation of the case." (Humboldt Standard)
September 7, 1940: "There is a line from Bakersfield to Kernville, with a spur to North Kern and the new lookout station on Blue Mountain. County fire department facilities at Woody are also on private line." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 28, 1953: "The Blue Mountain fire was reported to be 'under control' this morning after burning through 1,280 acres of oak trees, grass and brush.
The fire was first reported at 2:45 p.m. Sunday by E.R. Preston at Blue Mountain lookout station. At 5:30 p.m. Preston was forced to evacuate his station as the fires spread over tinder-dry brush country. An estimated 50 ranchers help fight the spreading fire." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 6, 1928: "Sequoia forest service officials made a trip of inspection in the south end of the Sequoia forest last week. They inspected the lookout stations on the summits of Piute and Breckenridge mountains." (Bakersfield Californian)
November 22, 1930: "Among the improvements made within the Sequoia National Forest during the past season was the modern lookout constructed on Breckenridge mountain about 25 miles due east of Bakersfield which is one of the best to be found within the forest boundary.
This lookout is 14 by 14 feet square and sets on top of a tower 24 feet high. It has large plate glass windows on all four sides which afford an unobstructed view of the surrounding country. These windows are protected in winter by large shutters, which, in summer, serve as sun shades. The lookout is furnished with a map showing the entire country in which this lookout station is supposed to function; also it is equipped with protractor and alidade with which the ranger on duty determines the location of fires. A telephone is also an important piece of the lookout's equipment, this being of so much assistance in carrying on communication during the fire season. A new road to this lookout station was completed prior to starting its construction." (Bakersfield Californian)
August 3, 1931: "Persons who believe that the men in the national forest lookout stations are lonely, forgotten folk, may draw a different conclusion from Melvin Marshall at Breckenridge, who has had 400 visitors since May 11. He will be there until the first heavy rain or snowstorm, probably late in the fall, when he is assured the fire season is over." (Bakersfield Californian)
August 11, 1931: "The forestry service has started the building of a new trail from this point (Hobo Hot Springs) to the lookout station on Breckenridge." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 30, 1935: "Ross Shaw, stationed at the ranger lookout station on Mount Breckenridge, has returned from Los Angeles, where he was called by the death of his father, R.C. Shaw, former widely known mining man of Kern county.
The senior Shaw for many years was associated with the Mammoth mine at Keyesville and the Warrington mine in the Havilah district." (Bakersfield Californian)
February 11, 1936: "A crew of 25 men in charge of Telephone Foreman Buck Evans was sent from Camp Fulton to Isabella for the purpose of building a telephone line to Cook Peak, where a new lookout is to be built in the near future." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 26, 1942: "The fire was first spotted by forest service lookouts on Cook Peak at 12:50 o'clock on Friday of last week. Weather conditions at that time were extremely unfavorable, causing the fire to spread with great rapidity. Twelve thousand acres were burned that first night and great runs continued on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, when a reconnaissance was made by plane by Supervisor Norris, smoke clouds boiling thousands of feet in the air covered the entire eastern portion of the fire.
The Cook Peak lookout, manned by Cliff Harrington and Robert Crain, was finally encircled and swept by flames. The men stuck to their posts throughout and were not injured. No damage was done to the twenty five foot steel tower and house." (The Fresno The Republican)
July 29, 1947: "Claude Stewart of Porterville, who has been a lookout on Cook's Peak in the Sequoia National Forest for four years, reported to forest service headquarters here yesterday he sighted a California condor flying south about 100 feet from the lookout station, which is at an elevation of 5,200 feet.
Stewart followed the condor with his glasses and believes it was headed for the Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Barbara country, apparently the only location where the almost extinct great birds are to be found in the United States.
Stewart said the condor had a wing spread of between nine and ten feet, and it was the first of the species he had ever seen." (Fresno Bee)
October 25, 1952: "The crows of Tobias Peak—peerless prognosticators of meteorological phenomena-- have given the sign; rain will fall in the mountains next week, thereby ending the fire season and bringing joy to all and sundry.
The latest word on the burblings of the birds comes by wireless from Mrs. Helen King, U.S. Forest Service lookout on Cook's Peak. Things sometimes get a little slow on top of a lookout tower, so Mrs. King has fun being a bird watcher.
Because of Mrs. Kings persistent bird-watching, a small legend has sprung up—to the effect that the rains always come just five weeks after the crows pick up their feet and fly away. They always head southeastward, but no one has ever seen them land. Maybe they just keep flapping around.
There was a dark suspicion, some weeks ago, about the honesty of the crows but, Mrs. King reports happily, everything is all right now and the birds have flown. The crows, probably just trying to be funny, flew away one day early in September. This was strictly against the rules, and Mrs. King was flabbergasted.
'Another illusion,' she thought, 'has been busted.' But five days later they all returned, cackling and smirking at their joke.
Now they've gone again, this time for the season. Only a few local crows are left, unadventurous, unimaginative stick-in-the-mud birds that don't care whether it rains or not.
So—you'd better carry your slicker next week." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 1, 1968: "A grass and scrub oak fire that burned over 980 acres near Lake Isabella, 50 miles east of Bakersfield, was contained Sunday night.
Cook's Peak lookout station was abandoned and a small cabin, a boat and some sheds were burned." (The Times-Standard)
July 15, 1941: "The board authorized Surveyor Thornton to survey a site for a new fire lookout station atop Grapevine peak in repose to a request by Harold P. Bowhay." (Bakersfield Californian)
August 16, 1938: "Gus Richardson, former assistant at the Kern county fire station in McFarland, has been appointed to act as lookout man at the Jasmine station." (Bakersfield Californian)
October 6, 1938: "Fred Harmon is in a local hospital recovering from an appendicitis operation. Fred is employed in the county forestry department and is stationed at the Lost Hills lookout station, where Butler Seibert is also stationed." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 2011 - Ron Kemnow photo
September 26, 1934: "The United States forest service is building a new steel lookout tower on Oak Flat peak six miles below Davis ranger station on Greenhorn Mountain." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 12, 1940: "The Rattlesnake grade fire this morning was discovered by the Oak Flat lookout post. Twelve county firemen and 20 men from a prison camp in the vicinity were detailed to fight the fire, bringing it under control within two hours." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 28, 1945: "An emergency call Wednesday sent Sequoia National Forest service officials into action when they answered an S.O.S. from the Greenhorn district's only woman fire lookout guard, Mrs. Andre Keown, stationed at Oak Flat.
Stricken by an infection in her throat, Mrs. Keown radioed the Bakersfield headquarters of the Greenhorn district of the Sequoia National Forest.
District Ranger R.F. Droege in turn radioed the Fulton ranger station and dispatched Allen Sheldon, fire control assistant, to Mrs. Keown's station. Mr. Sheldon rushed to the Oak Flat lookout point and brought Mrs. Keown to Bakersfield, leaving Jerry Preton, fire suppression crewman from Democrat station, in her place.
Mrs. Keown began as a lookout guard for the Greenhorn district May 15 and was stationed at Oak Flat point. Her daughter, Donna, 4, stays at the lookout point with her, and her husband, Arnold Keown, is stationed at Fort Ord, awaiting overseas assignment." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 5, 1931: "Mr. and Mrs. Theo. Leibel have moved to Piute Mountain for the summer. Mr. Leibell has entered the government service as look-out at that station." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 25, 1931: "Mr. and Mrs. Orvil Caldwell have moved for the summer to the government road camp on Piute mountain. Mr. Caldwell is employed by the forestry service in connection with the new road being built from Bodfish to the lookout station on Piute peak. This new road makes the station available from the Kern river side, shortening the auto route approximately 50 miles." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 24, 1933: "Assistant Foreman John Potter is building a new road from Bodfish grade to the lookout station on Piute mountain." (Bakersfield Californian)
April 3, 1935: "The Three C boys camped in Loraine canyon are putting up a telephone line from Tehachapi to the Piute lookout station." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 29, 1936: "The high winds sweeping over the tops of the mountains made it necessary for the lookout located on Piute to be re-anchored. Ted Leibel who is located there, had several exciting moments until this was accomplished." (Bakersfield Californian)
August 10, 1920: "The Sequoia Gets Mail By Airplane. On July 31 the Fresno Air Patrol delivered mail to the Lookout on Sunday Peak. In order to make sure that the Lookout received it, the patrol dropped so low that the lead weight on the wireless antennae struck a window; came through into the house, wrapped around a joint of heavy stovepipe, put a dent 1/4 inch deep in the opposite wall, then disappeared out the window, carrying with it the section of stovepipe. The Lookout says he enjoys having his mail delivered daily but prefers to receive his papers somewhat bruised by a longer drop, rather than to chase sections of stovepipe half way down the mountain." (California District News Letter)
October 12, 1921: "Supervisor Cunningham, whose district includes the Sequoia national forest, reports that lightning recently struck the flagpole at the Sunday Peak lookout station and completely demolished it. The pole stood within 30 feet of the cabin, Cunningham states, but no damage was done to that structure because of its protecting lightning rods." (Bakersfield Californian)
September 25, 1922: "Away up at the uttermost pinnacle of Sunday Peak, in the Greenhorn mountain range, sits Mrs. Jennie Abbott, on the lookout for fire in the vast stretches of timber reaching away as far as the horizon, far below and on every side of her lofty eyrie.
Three years Mrs. Abbott has been in the forest service--on Sherman peak, in the Whitney range, in 1920 and 1921 and among the Greenhorns during the past summer.
"There's nothing about the work that a woman can't do," she says, "if she doesn't mind the loneliness."
And Mrs. Abbott doesn't mind it in the least. She has an occasional visitor. She has the company of her pet chipmunk, Sharkey. And to occupy her hands she has her knitting, her crocheting, her needlework and her own little log cabin to keep. Her binoculars lie on her work table, with her telephone beside them, ready to call the nearest ranger at the first faint wisp of smoke in the great forests.
Mrs. Abbott's winter home is Bakersfield. :The Lady Lookout of Sunday Peak," they call her." (Modesto Evening news)
May 21, 1928: "Beginning today, R. Smith of Porterville will be stationed on Sunday Peak as lookout for the forest service during the coming fire season." (Bakersfield Californian)
September 5, 1934: "Roy Smith reports over four hundred visitors at the Sunday Peak lookout station since June 1. Elevation of the lookout is 8200 feet above sea level." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 11, 1936: "CCC men from Camp Fulton extinguished a grass fire between Lumro Creek and Jones ranch near Glennville yesterday afternoon. The blaze, reported by the Sunday Peak lookout on Greenhorn Mountain, consumed five acres of grass and burned several small structures, with an estimated loss of $50. It was believed to have been started by a branding iron." (Bakersfield Californian)
June 14, 1940: "New items added were Toll gate lookout, $750." (Bakersfield Californian)
August 5, 1954: "A 30-man crew from the Keene, Edison, Loraine, Tehachapi and Arvin substations of the Kern County fire department yesterday brought a 50-acre forest fire under control in less than three hours on the Carl Arnold Ranch two miles west of Loraine in Caliente Canyon.
Chief Elmo Freear credited the short life of the fire to the prompt report of smoke in the area by the Tollgate fire lookout and the early convergence of a large group of men and equipment on the scene of the blaze.
Cause of the fire is still undetermined, as fire prevention investigators continue probing the area today in search of possible clues." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 28, 1928: "Said to be one of the first co-operative moves by corporations in California to aid the state in combating forest and grass fires, The Standard Oil Company is operating a fire lookout at Wheeler Ridge. The station is being operated without cost to either state or county, according to Fire Warden R.V. Wood.
Mr. Wood said today: 'Officials of the Standard Oil Company in Kern county are enthusiastically and wholeheartedly co-operating with my office in protecting grass and timber lands from fire. Several months ago I approached officials of the company relative to securing co-operation in protecting lives and property. This assistance was assured me.'
'Immediately company officials ordered the construction of an alidade, or instrument for locating fires, and its installation on Wheeler Ridge. When the instrument was completed it was mounted on one of the company's tanks and a lookout station established.
'Not only is the company maintaining this station without cost to the county or state but is co-operating in every way possible. When men are needed to fight fire Standard Oil employes are rushed to the front and kept on the job as long as needed. It is co-operation such as this that increases the efficiency of my department and means added protection for property in the county.' " (Bakersfield Californian)