Up a tree, don’t be; a tower is better

Fairview lookout tower today.

In my book on the forest lookouts of Missouri, I asked readers to reach out if they had ideas. 

Accordingly, I was contacted by Jack Crossland, the son of Granville Crossland. 

Granville worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a Forest Ranger at the Fairview Lookout, and Jack lived with the family for some time there at the lookout residence. 

I was able to gather some information from Jack and his brothers, Roy and Les.

The Fairview area is named for the wonderful view. A Fairview School (through 8th grade) stood at one time just east of the tower and a Fairview Church is still active. 

A “tree lookout” stood at one time and you can see Granville putting it to use. Tree lookouts were used here and there as they were easy and economical. They often provided spot coverage over a ridge or help in the dry season.

In 1937 the Forest Service replaced, in roughly the same location, the tree lookout with a 100 foot Aermotor MC-39 “diagonal” steel tower. 

The tower has stood for over 80 years now and is still “active” with use as needed. It is presently fenced and not open to climbing. 

Fairview Tree is the original tree lookout.

Although open many years ago when I stopped by, a large and determined mob of hornets spoiled my chance. The location also has geodetic markers labeled “View” in the area.

The area was acquired in 1937 from Theodora and Lorenz Westenberger. The site, being a primary lookout, contained buildings at one time. The foundations can still be seen.  

A dwelling (plan B34) and garage (plan B16) were built as well as a latrine (plan B9). The garage may have been moved to the Rolla administrative site, according to paperwork. The location had a hand pump, according to Jack, for water.

Jack recalls Granville would let the kids climb the tower with supervision but, as a rule, they stayed off. 

Visitors were given a signed “Ancient and Honorable Order of the Squirrels” for the climb and “Prevent Forest Fire” badges. 

The “Ancient and Honorable Order” card here is interesting as it shows Kenneth Logsdon climbing the tower in January of 1942 and signed by Granville. 

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