(Editor’s note: This is the seventh and final part in a series about fire towers in Missouri.)
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once asked. If it is a Missouri lookout tower, the answer may be an interesting story, even a mystery.
I won’t attempt a definitive study, but will note some ideas and hope to hear from you for contributions if I left your favorite out.
For the tower researcher, this often proved to be useful. However, it could also be confusing. The Squires Tower is even today located right at Squires. However, the Thomasville/MDC Tower sits nine miles “as the crow flies” NW of Thomasville.
Jim Parker cautioned me that often, but not always, towers are located close to the town that it is named after. When the Blue Slip Tower was built, right between Norwood and Macomb, neither community was used and instead Blue Slip was selected. That mound is named Blue Slip?
Probably to nobody’s surprise, hills and mountains are very popular. Consider the following: Shell Knob, Mountain View, Blue Mountain, Rosehill, Tusher Hill, Timberknob, Lone Hill (twice), Mt. Hulda, Highmont, High (Hill), Stegall Mountain, Sullivan Hill, Twin Knobs, Bell Mountain, Blackjack Ridge, Johnson Mountain, Cottener (also Cottoner at times) Mountain, Pilot Knob (U.S.F.S. & M.D.C.), Rocky Mount, Stono Mountain, Bunker’s Knob, Panther Hill, and Mud Lick Mountain (Tip Top at one time – one of several Tip Tops in Missouri).
We find the creeks fairly well represented. There is a Sinking Creek Tower (located south of Fremont – Missouri has several “Sinking Creeks”) and had a Lost Creek Tower. Corn Creek Tower sat north of Flat and Brushy Creek Tower above Ellsinore.
Believe me, as I searched for Brushy Creek Tower, I learned Missouri has many Brushy Creeks. The Caney Towers were named for the cane which grew in the creeks below.
There was also a Cedar Creek Tower. Big Springs, Siloam Springs, Climax Springs, and Reed’s Spring Towers can or in the past could be included in the flowing waters I suppose as might the Piney Tower that sat above the Big Piney River.
The animals show here and there. West of Poplar Bluff is Beaver Creek and Beaver Mountain, which gave rise to Beaver Tower, I suppose. Blue Buck Tower was named after a particularly large buck brought in for resettlement.
Eagle Tower sat above Van Buren and Deer Run sits north of Ellington. Panther Tower sat just west of the Current River and Bee on Bee Hill.
Then there are two of my favorites — Wolf Mountain Tower and Possum Trot Towers (two at that location at different times). Wolf Mountain certainly evokes a certain image and I suppose wolves must have roamed the area at some point.
Possum Trot is a favorite. Much like “Brushy Creek,” “Possum Trot” usage shows on many topogs here and there.There were two Possum Trot Towers south of Winona with the footings for the smaller 50-footer set concentrically inside the larger 100-footer. Possum Trot, one of my favorite tower names.