PROJECT PARTNER: Pike-San Isabel National Forest
SESSION DATES: August 16-21 and August 23-28
The Devils Head Fire Lookout was established in 1912 and its original tower was built in 1919. In this same year, massive changes were taking place across the world: The Treaty of Versailles officially ended WWI, and in the United States, women gained the right to vote, Prohibition was enacted, and more than 25 race riots were held across the country that summer – the Chicago Race Riots being the most severe. The country at the time was also finally recovering from the 1918 H1N1 pandemic.
During that time in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, several improvements were being made. The road up to Pikes Peak (14,110′) was completed in 1915 and tourists flocked to the opportunity to drive up this “fourteener.” Wildfire and land management practices continued to improve, and constructing and staffing fire look out towers like Devils Head was part of a larger forest strategy.
Modern fire management technology has surpassed the need for historic fire lookout towers like Devils Head. Many lookout towers have been torn down, turned into overnight rentals, or left in states of disrepair. Devils Head, located at the top of the Rampart Range, is unique in that it is still staffed and cared for by the forest and partner organizations like HIstoriCorps.
Volunteers helped repair and restore 19 windows at the lookout, some of which were damaged in wind events in recent years.