Richard Holm Jr.'s Backyard Lookout

"These things are part of our history and they need to be preserved. And that is why it is important that we inform the public about them and we get in groups together and volunteer and help rebuild them and save them."
— Richard Holm Jr., lookout historian and author of "Points of Prominence"

Richard Holm Jr. inspects his cabin.

Richard Holm Jr. takes the mission of saving lookouts seriously. He's helped restore a number of lookout structures, including the old lookout cabin on Brundage Mountain. Built in 1914, it's the second oldest cabin still standing on the Payette National Forest. Holm has also written a book about the history of lookouts on the Payette called "Points of Prominence". And to put an exclamation point on his love of lookouts he actually reconstructed one in the backyard of his home near Payette Lake.

Richard Holm Jr. stands in front of the aermotor fire tower, originally from Cold Mountain, that he reconstructed in his backyard.

"I just became enamored with lookouts in general and when I got the opportunity to acquire one of them I just think it is a really neat piece of history. It was laying in pieces and nobody was going to do anything with it. It was just an absolute puzzle piece. I had nothing to go on and I would go up to other lookouts, study them, make maps, charts and then I would come back and try and put it back together. This particular one was completely disassembled in 1994 and packed from Cold Mountain on mules down to the Cold Meadows airfield and then it was flown out of there and then I put it back together at my house at half of its height and I've restored it as much as I could to the way it was in about 1940. The aermotor towers are really unique. In fact, you see them a lot on the eastern portion of the United States but they are rare because we have sharp terrain and they are mainly used to get out over the tops of trees. So to see them out here in Idaho is unique. And from the time I got interested in this which has been probably about in the last ten years, I've seen the Payette go from eight aermotor towers to now just two and so the declining numbers is alarming and that is why people need to get involved. And they are such icons of the state."
— Richard Holm Jr., lookout historian and author of "Points of Prominence"