Towers
R.H. SPRAY, April, 1995

 


Tower      I don't intend to say much about towers. I learned early that I don't like towers, even low ones. Living on the ground, even with cliffs all around, is much more pleasant than at the top of a tower.
     If the living quarters are on the ground and observation is on a tower, then the tower is probably one of those tall ones which are a real chore to be constantly climbing --- I'll choose a ground lookout any day if I'm given a choice!
     Towers in the 20's and 30's were usually untreated pole structures made from nearby trees. These obviously didn't last and if any are still around, don't climb on them! (Major exception --- on the dry east side of the Deschutes, the East Butte untreated pole tower served from 1932 to 1994, 62 years!)
     Next, treated timber towers were used. There are many designs of these and heights vary. Treated timber towers are still being used. They are versatile, strong, and long lasting. The 83-foot Black Butte tower was constructed in 1934 and even though condemned, still stands. The treated timber legs and braces are still sound, but untreated components such as the stairs and cab are the reason for condemnation.
     Trout Creek Butte has an 86-foot steel tower, which is unique for this part of the country. Steel towers are extensively used in places other than the Northwest because they are standard designs used for windmills, antennas, and other purposes that can be purchased "over the counter." They are not used here because of the dominion of wood products in this part of the country. Wood also has an advantage in that if it is going to fail, it gives warning. Failure of steel is sudden without warning. Hopefully this attribute of wood will never be needed!


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