Stillwater Fire Tower, A Centennial History … and Earlier (2019, Self-Published) by James Fox, recounts how it came to life as a shiny steel tower in 1919 when fire observers and forest rangers helped protect our forests from the summit. The tower closed and was partially dismantled in 1988.
Rehab of the tower began in 2009. Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower completed an authentic restoration in 2016. The location offers views of the Adirondack High Peaks and the wind turbines on Tug Hill.
Historic photographs chronicling the fire tower, along with photos recent events are included in the book. Dozens of pictures of volunteers and hikers, rangers and observers and their relatives fill the pages, along with panoramic, aerial and time-lapse photography by Eric Adsit, Kurt Gardner and Gary Lee.
The history of Stillwater Mountain reaching back before the first wooden tower was built in 1912, is illustrated with photos, maps, lithographs and a sketch from Lewis County Surveyor S.H. Snell’s 1882 notebook.
Also included is the story of the survey bolt that was stolen and later recovered by a hiker from New Jersey in 2013. That 1882 benchmark was identified as Station 77 in Verplanck Colvin’s survey of the Adirondacks and had been located on the summit of Stillwater Mountain.
The author Jim Fox lives in Stillwater. His wife Carol’s family photos of Stillwater Mountain in 1910 fueled Jim’s enthusiasm as an organizer of Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower.
Copies are available online, at historical societies, and at businesses that sell books on local history. All proceeds go to Friends of Stillwater Fire Tower, a non-profit organization of volunteers.
Jim Fox and his wife Carol lived at Stillwater where her family’s roots were established in the early 1900s. He retired as a school psychologist in Baldwinsville where they now live. Following their two children’s kid’s activities, boating on the reservoir and boring people about ferns are Jim’s pastimes.