Brooks Run Fire Tower

Also known as: Grove Mountain Run Fire Tower
Ridge Road; Austin, PA

Fire tower in Elk State Forest


Photo from National Historic Lookout Register

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This 80-foot Aermotor tower is found along Bucktail Path in Elk State Forest in Cameron County overlooking Sinnemahoning State Park.

Originally built in 1921 and called Grove Mountain Run Fire Tower was moved on June 19, 1940 to the Brooks Run site, which is a considerably higher elevation. The 60-foot structure is maintained and still used by the Forestry Service as an observation tower during peak fire season.

Brief history 


April 23, 1931: "Oscar Miller of Driftwood, towerman of the Grove Mountain Fire Tower, had a thrilling experience in the fire that raged in the forests near Driftwood.

Miller, who was in the tower, stuck to his post a little too long. The flames, racing at a fearful pace, had the tower surrounded before Miller was aware of the fact. He started down but was forced to climb back to his lofty perch. District Forester Baer was in telephone communication with Miller until the flames burned the insulators from the poles. Miller informed Baer that he was leaving and that was the last message Baer received. When Miller failed to put in his appearance, the foresters were fearful of his safety and as soon as possible started for the tower. They met Miller as they approached the tower and he was none the worse for his experience." (McKean County Democrat)

June 19, 1940: "Grove Mountain Run fire tower, part of the Cameron County forest fire protection plan, is to be moved this summer to a higher and more favorable location at the head of Brooks Run sector, L.G. Barnes, District Forester stated today.

The Brooks Run site is 280 feet higher and is probably the highest point in Cameron County. The new tower will be twenty feet taller than the Grove Mountain tower, which is sixty feet in height. The elevation of Brook Mountain is 2,380 feet.

The new tower may also be used as a flood control tower and may be manned the year around instead of during the fire season alone the District Forester said. If that is to be done, daily reports of stream conditions and atmospheric readings will be sent to government control stations at strategic points. That section is located at the head of important watersheds and could keep an eye on head waters of a dozen streams.

The local forestry office maintained a temporary wooden tower on Brook Mountain during the recent fire season with an observer on constant duty.

The work of moving the old tower will be started as soon as official permits are issued and the equipment can be purchased for the tower extension." (Olean Times-Herald - New York)

Update Log 

  • June 13, 2018: Essay added by Brian Manville
  • December 17, 2017: Added by Brian Manville