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The Mt Everett Fire Tower -Mass.

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  • The Mt Everett Fire Tower -Mass.

    By TRUDY TYNAN
    Associated Press Writer
    MOUNT WASHINGTON, Mass. (AP) - Like generations of other
    mountain kids, Orville Garrett grew up raising his eyes to the
    heights and the fire tower that had stood on the peak of Mount
    Everett for nearly a century.
    So when the state took down the tower it hadn't used for decades
    - plucking it off the Berkshire summit by helicopter - and
    advertised the pieces on the online auction site eBay, Garrett, 38,
    decided to make an offer.
    And with the help of a friend - "I'm not that computer
    oriented," he said - Garrett wound up owning a piece of local
    history for $510.
    His reason for outbidding four other folks - all local residents
    it turned out - wasn't fancy.
    "It's home. It's part of the town," he said. "From the time I
    was born it was there."
    For as long as Garrett could remember, he could see the tower or
    its predecessor from the kitchen window of his parents' home in
    this little town of 130 people. After he married and moved down the
    road, he could see the tower from his own kitchen window.
    No matter how far he traveled, Garrett said, he knew he was
    close to home when he could see the tower cresting the state's
    second-highest peak.
    And there were family connections. His great uncles had all
    worked on the tower as fire spotters, and his uncle was the last
    fire lookout to be hired by Berkshire County before it turned
    operation of the tower over to the state.
    On clear days, the tower's spectacular top-of-the-world view of
    the southwestern corner of Massachusetts afforded views of the
    Catskills and Adirondacks in New York to the Green Mountains in
    Vermont.
    "I can remember as a kid going up there with my mother and all
    my cousins," he said. "It was what I saw every day until the
    middle of April. Now the mountain seems very bare."
    The state replaced the tower with a new 40-foot structure in
    1970, but never used it as a lookout.
    It was actually the third erected on the 2,600-foot summit since
    1915, according to the Historic Lookout Register maintained by
    Forest Fire Lookout Association, a private restoration group.
    The decision to raze the tower split the small town, with some
    lobbying hard for its removal to help protect the delicate summit,
    and others arguing equally vigorously for its restoration.
    Still, Garrett, who was re-elected last month to a third term as
    Town Meeting Moderator, said he's "gotten lots of calls" and
    offers of help from people on both sides since becoming the high
    bidder. "Even some that wanted it taken down have offered me
    money," he said.
    After hauling the pieces off the state field, Garrett, who runs
    an excavating business, says his first task will be to have a
    structural engineer advise him on repairing the tower, which was
    cut apart rather than unbolted during the removal, which cost the
    state $49,000.
    Then he hopes to find a new home for it in Mount Washington.
    "I'm up for all types of suggestions," he said. "I think its
    going to be a long project. But, hopefully we can find a place
    where we can enjoy it some more."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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