Fire Lookout Tower Kit
WHERE’S THE FIRE?
Though fire lookout towers predate the US Forest Service, which was founded in 1905, the vast majority of towers were built between 1930 and 1950. Towers were built on timber frames some 30–70 feet high, and a small room called a “cab” was accessible by the fire lookout occupant via open-air stairs. Though most towers were decommissioned in the 1960s, many still remain, and 25 of them are in North Carolina. Here are a few you can visit in the Western North Carolina area.
Want more fire tower ideas? Take a look at the U.S. Forest Service’s 1938 publication: https://www.fs.usda.gov/eng/facilities/documents/1938_USDA-FS_StdLookoutPlans.pdf
As of March 2023, this timber frame kit has been discontinued. We originally introduced this and other timber frame kits in March 2020, motivated by the idea that if one of our crew becomes ill, or if we have to close the shop temporarily, our crew can load their pickups with wood and tools and make the kits at home. We just wanted to keep everyone working.
Three years on, our crew is busier than ever and we’ve made the decision to concentrate on what we do best: custom timber framing projects. If a custom timber frame home, barn, great room, entryway, or other structure sounds like something you’d like to explore, we encourage you to view our work and see some of the projects we’re particularly proud of.
Tower pavilion kits, aka “The Fire Tower”
how high will you want to go?
As a kid, I dreamt about living in a fire tower. Heck, even as a grown man, I still think it would be way cool. And judging from the number of fire towers for rent on VRBO, lots of people have the same dream. I seriously considered building a fire tower on my Maine island property to capture the 360° view of the islands and mountains. But first I had to renovate the house, then I built a workshop/barn, then a garden shed for my wife, and, well, life got in the way and I never realized my childhood dream. Interestingly, Eric Morley had the same dream:
“This kit started out as a 3-story tower addition for my house (which, secretly, I thought of as ‘the fire tower’). Well, like a lot of us in building, I never got around to finishing it. To my credit, however, I did get the timber frame designed, drawn, and fabricated, but then the project stalled for a number of years. I stored the frame in my garage for a while, and then in our timber frame shop, and every time I looked at that stack of finished timber, I sighed. One day while talking with my neighbor, he mentioned that he was looking for just this sort of timber frame structure for his home. One thing led to another and he decided to build it. He calls it a Pavilion, but we know what it really is: a Fire Tower!”
This timber frame pavilion kit really is modular. Take the legs off and it becomes a lovely Pavilion perfect for even a smallish backyard. You can still run a ladder up to the “observation deck.” Add legs, like the original, and it’s a two and a half story Fire Tower! This kit is filled with possibilities—for you, your kids, and your grandkids. Don’t let life get in the way! Seize the moment, realize the dream, and be a kid again!