July 2013
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Clove Mountain

We take care of a non-broadcast radio site on Clove Mountain, NY. This is a fairly prominent terrain feature and has something else interesting next to the tower site. This old fire tower:

Clove Mountain fire tower, Clove Mountain, NY

Clove Mountain fire tower, Clove Mountain, NY

That is an Aermotor LS-60 fire tower, constructed in 1932. For an eighty year old structure, it is a remarkably good shape. In New York State, fire towers were used for spotting up until 1990, although I believe the last season this one was used was 1988.

Clove Mountain fire tower, clove mountain, NY

Clove Mountain fire tower, clove mountain, NY

Clove mountain is about 1,400 feet above sea level and 800 to 1000 feet above the surrounding terrain. From the top, on a clear day, the view was approximately 30-45 miles depending on terrain obstacles. A forest ranger would be constantly scanning the area looking for signs of fire. If he saw something, there was a range finder that would give the range and azimuth. He would then reference a map and call the fire department responsible for that location.  The fire tower was equipped with electric and a wired telephone.

Clove Mountain view to Northwest

Clove Mountain view to Northwest

This picture was taken on a cloudy day, thus the view is somewhat restricted.

Stairs looking down

Stairs looking down

It would be nice if this were preserved and not allowed to deteriorate any further. Several of these sites have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Clove Mountain Ranger cabin

Clove Mountain Ranger cabin

Below the tower is this ranger cabin. Presumably, during the busy season somebody stayed up here 24/7. There was electricity and a refrigerator, but no running water.  Off to the side is a bedroom.  Over the years, people have broken into the fire tower and this cabin and smashed things for no reason.  It would be nice to preserve all of this for future generations to see, but it is likely these pictures will have to do.

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9 comments to Clove Mountain

  • Clove Mountain is a pretty significant site in the DCSO public safety system.

    I thought there was broadcast up here many years ago too. Am I thinking of another hill?

  • Andy Soule

    Had one of those at one of my sites. They tore them whole thing down and put up a comm tower for the feds.

    Larry Lujack wrote in his book about working at a site like this one summer in his book.

  • Paul Thurst

    Mike: Pretty sure that there was never any broadcast facility on Clove Mountain.

    Andy: The old fire tower is pretty cool. Hopefully they won’t tear it down

  • Bill Frahm

    Old lookout are a big thing way out west!

  • Dewey Jacks

    We have a tower like that at the state park just east of Bluffton,In,…right outside of town! As far as I know,it’s still standing!

  • I’d like to hike to it, are you the one that can give permission, or someone else?

  • Paul Thurst

    No, you would have to contact the site owners for permission.

  • Out West, there are groups who work to get these structures listed as historic and volunteer tyo help maintain them — there surely must be similar groups in NY. (It’s rather easy for a midwesterner to forget the wooded beauty of most of NY until somone posts an article like this. From TV coverage, you’d think it was all NYC-urban, border-to-border.)

  • Paul Thurst

    Of the 19.5 million people that live in NY, 16.8 million of them live in the ten downstate counties (NY City, Long Island and Westchester). That leaves the rest of the state for us more rural types, who like it that way. As far as the fire tower goes, the access road is owned by a Rod and Gun club, the top of the mountain is owned by American Tower. If they would allow access, it would be great for some group to come and preserve this site, including the NRHP.

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