Harney Peak Lookout Tower – Mount Rushmore SD


"The Harney Peak Lookout Tower was built by Camp F-23, Doran to replace the old wooden structure. Over 7,500 rocks had to be hauled up the mountain on specially built horse-drawn sleds. Everything necessary was sledded up or carried by the men as they climbed to the job site. The U.S. Forest Service recently did repairs at the tower in the hope that the shelter will be respectfully used."

"The Harney Peak Fire Tower was constructed at Harney Peak by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 to 1938. Stones gathered from French Creek were used to construct the tower. All of the building materials were hauled by man and mule to the summit of Harney Peak.

In addition to the Harney Peak Fire Lookout Tower, a dam, pump house and stairway were constructed upon the highpoint. The reservoir created by the dam supplied water to the living quarters where were located in the lower level. The comforts of electricity, flush toilets, and a central heating system were incorporated into the remote Harney Peak Fire Lookout Tower.

Harney Peak Fire Lookout Tower was staffed until 1965 by the U.S. Forest Service, and then for the following two years by Custer State Park. Airplanes, helicopters and other fire towers throughout the Black Hills National Forest, resulted in the Harney Peak Fire Tower no longer being staffed since 1967."

Source notes

Project submitted by Brad Saum.

Sanders, Peggy. _The Civilian Conservation Corps: In and Around the Black Hills._ Arcadia Publishing, 2004. Pg. 117.

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Location Info

Harney Peak
Mount Rushmore, SD 57751

Location notes:

Coordinates: 43.866097, -103.531582

2 comments on “Harney Peak Lookout Tower – Mount Rushmore SD

  1. Dennis Hutt

    My grandfather, Mark Hendrickson was in the CC’s and worked for the forest service and manned a lookout tower in this area. I was wondering if anyone knew if he was part of the camp that built this lookout tower or knew if he was one of the forest service personnel that manned it at one time. I would like to know where to get this information. I never thought to ask these questions from him when he was alive. Thanks.

    • Alex Tarr

      Dennis, I’m afraid we can’t be much direct help, but maybe someone else viewing this page will have ideas. We’d love to know what you find out though!

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