For nearly a century, fire observers watched the forests of New York State from more than 100 fire towers perched atop the highest peaks, searching for dangerous, telltale signs of forest fires.
The Rondax Fire Tower was first constructed in 1912 out of wood. Named after the nearby Rondaxe Lake, the tower stood only 20-feet high. It featured no cab, with only a flat deck for the fire observer to stand upon exposed to the elements.
A 35-foot-high steel AerMotor LS‐40 Fire Tower replaced the wooden structure in 1917. The LS-40 was considered fireproof and included a weatherproof cab for fire observer.
The state began to phase out the use of fire towers for spotting forest fires in the 1980’s and in 1990, the last 5 towers, including Rondaxe, were closed.
After being abandoned for over a decade, Friends of Bald Mountain began a multi-year restoration project in 2002.