SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
November 4, 1934: "Work on the latest link of the county's fire suppression system was under way in the San Lorenzo Valley today. It is the erection of a lookout tower on Eagle Rock behind Boulder Creek.
Men from the CCC camp at Big Basin have been impressed into service on the tower and in the construction of a road leading to the top of the peak which will give the forestry service a commanding view of the entire west end of the county." (Oakland Tribune)
July 25, 1944: "The fire warden said he was ready to call on nearby army posts for help if the fire jumps the ridge and threatens to reach the proportions of the 1936 blaze, which burned from September 26 to October 30 in that year and was fought by hundreds of men and CCC boys.
It was first sighted by the Eagle peak lookout station on Empire ridge shortly after 4:30 a.m., and a few minutes later by the Bielawski lookout on Skyline boulevard south of Saratoga gap. A fog obscured visibility, but was too high to be of benefit to the firefighters." (San Mateo Times)
October 3, 1975: "Veteran fire lookout Clifford "Mac" McLaughlin has reluctantly given up his post high in the Santa Cruz mountains near Big Basin.
He has spent the past 17 years at Eagle Rock Lookout tower during the summer fire season for the San Mateo-Santa Cruz Ranger unit of the California Division of Forestry.
The tower perched on the top of the 2,500 foot mountain, offers a commanding view. On exceptionally clear days McLaughlin said you can see the Farallon Islands to the north, the snow line on the Sierra Nevada's to the East, and a 75-mile stretch of Pacific Ocean to the West.
Thick redwood forests cover the lower hills in the immediate area surrounding Eagle Rock. It is hard to imagine that the Bay Area--entirely hidden from the Eagle Rock by the Skyline Boulevard ridge--lies so close to the rugged setting. (The Times - San Mateo)
August 11, 1978: "A quick attack by the California Department of Forestry this morning confined a fire which broke out on China Ridge at the northeast boundary of Big Basin State Park to little more than an acre.
The fire first was spotted just after 8 a.m. by a tower lookout at Eagle Peak who noticed a "bubble" in the fog. Heat caused the bubble, according to firemen." (The Times - San Mateo)
October 19, 1934: "Being rushed to completion at a cost of $4000, the new State fire suppression station on Saratoga Summit near here will be ready for use November 15, it was reported today. The station will include housing accommodations for 10 men, a four car garage, lookout tower, fire fighting equipment and a tank house." (Oakland Tribune)
May 10, 1935: "The inspection party stopped off for lunch at Saratoga Gap, where an SERA camp is located and men are working on clearing fire trails, etc. Near this camp is now being built the big tri-counties fire station which will serve San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties the year around. Three pieces of equipment, one from each county, and thirty men will be stationed at this barracks, a sort of headquarters. Construction of a seventy-foot lookout tower will start next week." (San Mateo Times)
July 6, 1922: "State Forester Pratt extended an invitation to the general public to be present at the flag raising on the new fire lookout tower on Mt. Bielawski, on July 2nd. This lookout tower is 60 feet in height and commands a view of a large portion of Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. It is connected by a telephone line 18 miles in length with Governor's Camp of California Redwood Park. A lookout man is located on the tower and reports all fires to the Fire Wardens located in the three counties named above. Financial assistance in the construction of this detection and reporting system was rendered the State by San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Joaquin Counties, the California Redwood Park Commission and the State Highway Commission." (California District News Letter)
July 22, 1922: "The fire lookout on Mount Bielawski, the highest point on the Castle Rock ridge between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, is the first structure of its kind which has through the efforts of the State Board of Forestry. This 60-foot steel tower, and the 18 miles of telephone line connecting it with the California Redwood Park in Big Basin, was made possible through financial cooperation extended by Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, the State Highway Commission and the Redwood Park Commission. There is also a connection with the Los Gatos telephone line which was made by a three-mile line built by local ranchers in co-operation with the State Board of Forestry.
The telephone line to the California Redwood Park was constructed and the lookout tower erected by state rangers under the supervision of Inspector Frost, State Board of Forestry. On July 2, 1922, the tower was dedicated." (Ninth Biennial Report of the State Board of Forestry of the State of California)
November 6, 1923: "State Forester M.B. Pratt has been served with papers in an injunction and damage suit in which he and two other state employes have been named defendants as the result of an action filed in the superior court of Santa Cruz county by Mrs. Serena C. Smead, owner of the land in the vicinity of the Mount Bielawski fire lookout station in the county of Santa Cruz.
The plaintiff claims that the state officials have entered upon her land without her permission or consent and have destroyed or removed trees and shrubbery of the value of $1,000." (Bakersfield Californian)
May 11, 1929: "Mrs. Freda Crangle, 23, wife of John Crangle, state forest ranger for El Dorado county, shot and killed herself at the fire lookout station on Mount Bielawski, near Castle Rock, Santa Cruz county. Fred Herring, her father, in charge of the station, was in the lookout tower when the shot was fired." (Bakersfield Californian)
July 16, 1936: "The bodies of Barbara Herring and Jack Crangle, 11-year-old cousins, who died when they fell from a 75-foot precipice near Mt. Bielawski Lookout Station, lay in a mortuary here today while sorrowing relatives arranged funeral services for them.
The children's bodies were brought from the foot of the cliff on stretchers yesterday after a crew, headed by Coroner P.J. Freeman, and composed of Ray Bloom, Ernie Frey and Harold Pampel, had to cut a trail through more than a mile of dense underbrush to get to them with litters.
Freeman still held to his theory that the children were eating their lunch on the top of the cliff when the girl slipped over the side dragging the boy with her as he attempted to hold her.
The children had been visiting their grandfather, Fred Herring, lookout at Mt. Bielawski. It was Herring who spotted their bodies with a flashlight Tuesday night." (Oakland Tribune)
July 1, 1957: "San Mateo county fire warden E.H. Werder says that tomorrow the thirty-fifth anniversary of Bielawski Lookout station, the first of its kind built and supported by the state, will be celebrated.
Bielawski is a 60 foot steel tower atop the high point of Castle Rock ridge on the Santa Cruz-Santa Clara county line in the Big Basin Redwood area. For 35 consecutive fire seasons its lookouts have protected the area from disastrous forest blazes.
The State Forest Service had almost no funds in those days and the cost of construction was borne by the two named counties, the State highway commission, and the California Redwood Park (Big Basin) commission.
State Rangers performed the construction work during the winter and spring months." (San Mateo Times)