For sale: place with a view

Stubborn forest fire nowout in Brunswick Co.

6January 2005


For sale: place with a view

By KAY HIVELY / Special to the Daily News

It would make a great tree house or a unique room with a great view. And youwould certainly be able to look down on your neighbors.

The object that can make all this possible is the old fire tower, locatednorthwest of Goodman.

According to local forester Roger Schmidt, the day of fire towers insouthwest Missouri have virtually ended. With the establishment of home sitesdeeper in the woods and with new technology, it is no longer practical to manthe old fire towers that stand majestically over the forests.

A second generation forester, Schmidt hates to see the end of the fire towerera. His interest in forestry over the past 40 or 50 years has turned him intosomething of a forest historian. Plying through his records, Schmidt came upwith some information about the Goodman tower.

The site of the tower was purchased by the Department of Conservation in1947. And, by today’s standard, it was quite a bargain at $4,000. The originalsite was 40 acres with a two-story farm house. The Department then built agarage, a chicken house, a barn and a latrine, and, of course, a fire tower. Thetower was made of wood and stood 60 feet tall. Attice Wooldridge was hired toman the tower and take care of the property. According to Schmidt, the towermanpaid a small rent for the house and actually made his living with the chickensand other farming.

At that time, the local conservation district office was located in Pinevilleand known as the Camp Crowder Forest Fire Protection District. In 1953 theheadquarters was moved from Pineville to its current location on the southwestside of Neosho.

In 1959, Mr. Wooldridge died and the Goodman operation became a secondarytower, manned only during the high fire season, from late fall to early spring.

In 1966, the old 60-foot wooden tower was replaced by the one that stillstands today. That tower, which is 120 feet tall and made of steel, came fromMichigan. According to Schmidt, the department paid $1 for the tower, butMissouri foresters had to travel to Michigan, disassemble the tower, haul it toMissouri and put it back together again.

Now the “new” 120-foot tower is for sale. The ConservationCommission office is accepting sealed bids for it. Only the tower is for sale,so it will have to be moved off the property on Sorrel Road. Anyone interestedin the tower for removal or for scrap should stop by the local conservationoffice and make a bid.



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