Year Listed: 2014
County: Routt County
Construction Date: 1912
Threat When Listed: Natural Elements – Lightning
Status: SAVE for 2016
Constructed at the top of Hahn’s Peak at 10,839 feet in 1912, the Hahn’s Peak Lookout is located on the historic Hahn’s Peak mine. The site was initially constructed by the Forest Service as a part of the early Forest Service fire management strategy. It was one of the first officially funded lookouts constructed in Colorado, and rebuilt during the Great Depression, and updated shortly after during World War II. The lookout is representative of the early conservation movement, a symbol for fire management strategies in the early years of the Forest Service, and role of the Forest Service during World War II. It is a component of the historic mining landscape developed by the Hahn’s Peak Gold Mining and Milling Company.
The site’s gradual decommissioning during the late 1940s and early 1950s are indicative of changing perceptions of the role of manned lookout towers versus using airplanes and other aerial technology for spotting forest fires.
The site experienced severe deterioration, largely in the five years leading up to EPP listing. Since the lookout is a popular recreation location, it was victim to defacement, a natural fire, and a fire caused by lightning in the structure. These fires threatened the wooden floor and cab, and the foundation was eroded from a combination of extreme weather conditions and neglect.
Emergency stabilization work occurred in 2013. In 2014 Historic Routt County hired HistoriCorps, a national nonprofit organization and close partner of CPI, to complete the restoration work and and mobilize volunteers. The site was declared SAVED in 2016 as a result of the significant collaborative efforts and grant from the U.S. Forest Service, the State Historical Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Museum and Heritage Fund of the Board of Routt County Commissioners.