“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Hadley in Saratoga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

(Hadley Mountain) Fire Tower

Hadley Mountain Fire Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
1. Hadley Mountain Fire Tower Marker
In the Adirondacks of New York.
Fire Tower
Erected of wood in 1916
Steel tower erected in 1920
Cabin built to house ranger
Closed 1990, restored and
staffed summers from 1996

Erected 1999 by the Town of Hadley.
Location. 43° 22.327′ N, 73° 57.041′ W. Marker is near Hadley, New York, in Saratoga County. Marker is on Tower Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. The Marker is at the beginning of the Trail, at the edge of the trailhead parking area. Marker is in this post office area: Hadley NY 12835, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Conklingville Cemetery (approx. 4 miles away); Hadley Station (approx. 6.4 miles away); Garnar Tannery (approx. 6½ miles away); Bow Bridge (approx. 6.7 miles away); James Cameron (approx. 7.7 miles away); Tennantville (approx. 10.4 miles away); Charles R. Bishop Childhood Home (approx. 12.2 miles away); Floyd Bennett Memorial (approx. 12.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hadley.
More about this marker. The top of the marker says "Saratoga County 2000". This is one of a series of markers in Saratoga County with this heading.
Hadley Mountain Fire Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
2. Hadley Mountain Fire Tower Marker
The orange sign on the left forbids ATV use in the area. The sign on the rights says,"Wilcox Lake Wild Forrest, Adirondack Preserve, Hadley Mountain Trailhead".

Regarding (Hadley Mountain) Fire Tower. The 2,653 foot tall Hadley Mountain is in the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest. The Wilcox Lake Wild Forest is located in the southeastern area of the Adirondack Park and is made up of approximately 140,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in Warren, Hamilton, Saratoga and Fulton Counties. The unit offers many recreational opportunities, including hiking to the fire tower on Hadley Mountain, camping on Wilcox Lake, and ice fishing on Garnet Lake. Hadley Mountain and the Fire Tower are in northern Saratoga County, New York.

In the early 20th Century many fires raged through the forests of New York State. In 1903, 643 forest fires destroyed 464,000 acres of land in the Adirondacks and Catskills. Again in 1908, a dry year, there were 605 fires which ruined 368,000 acres of timber statewide with a cost of $178,992 to fight the fires in the Adirondacks. At that time fires were caused by sparks from steam locomotives, burning brush for agricultural purposes, hunters, fishermen, and campers’ campfires, smokers and arsonists. The terrible fires of 1908 created a public demand for fire protection resulting in the Forest Fish & Game Commission implementing a new state fire fighting system, which included mountain top observation points. By the end of 1910 there were 20 mountain top observation stations; 4
Observer's / Summit Steward's Cabin image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
3. Observer's / Summit Steward's Cabin
This is the steward's cabin built in 1950. The Fire tower can be seen in the background.
in the Catskills, 16 in the Adirondacks. These stations consisted of a log tower with an open observer platform, and a crude phone system.

In 1916 the state of New York purchased 10 steel towers to replace wooden structures. At that time the average cost of a fire tower was about $530, not including labor. The Hadley Mountain tower was installed in 1917. (Both the Marker, and Saratoga County website state 1920). In 1919 the state replaced the dangerous outside ladder on the fire towers with a system of stairs.

In 1917 the state built the observer cabin to replace older facilities at Hadley. During the winter of 1949-50 the Conservation Department had materials hauled on a sled by a team of horses to the summit to build a new observer cabin, the one in place today, which is of a standard design adopted by the state in 1922.

Records indicate that in 1921 Hadley Mountain reported 24 fires and had 155 visitors during the season which typically lasted from April first until the end of October.

In the 1970s the state reduced the number of operating fire towers from 102 statewide to 39. It had been determined that aircraft were more economical and the state saved a quarter of a million dollars using 23 aerial detection flights.

In the early 1980s a study determined that only 4% of the forest fires reported state wide were reported by fire
Hadley Mountain Fire Tower image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
4. Hadley Mountain Fire Tower
"Described by Coast and Geodetic Survey 1942 (KBJ) The station is located in Hadley Township, about 6.5 Miles W and 4 Miles N of the Hadley Post Office, on the summit of the W Mountain of the Hadley Mountain. It is a 4-legged steel structure that is 47.5 feet high with a glass enclosed cab. The apex of the roof was the point observed." - National Geodetic Survey Sheet. The guy wires help stabilize the tower as it can be dangerously windy at times.
tower observers. The majority of fires were reported by local residents and passing motorists. 16 Adirondack fire towers were closed in the 1980s.

In 1990 the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) closed the last four fire towers in the Adirondacks, including the tower at Hadley Mountain, which was closed on August 24th. In the early 90s the Hadley Fire Tower Committee was organized by local residents. They worked with the members of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and DEC personnel to restore the fire tower in the mid to late 90s. Each year since 1996 the committee hires a summit steward who lives in the observer’s cabin from July 4th through Labor Day, on duty Thursdays through Mondays. The steward greets summit visitors and tells them about the history of the tower and points out items of interest including other mountain peaks, and answers questions. Visitors are welcome to climb the stairs and visit the cab at the top of the fire tower which offers tremendous views of the Great Sacandaga Reservoir, the Mohawk Valley, the Catskills and the Heldeburg Escarpment. To the east are the Willsboro Mountain Range, Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont, the Massachusetts Berkshires, and some of the Adirondack High Peaks can be seen to the north.

From the trailhead at the parking lot on Tower Road the hike to the fire tower and peak is
Benchmark, Hadley Mountain image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
5. Benchmark, Hadley Mountain
A 1942 U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Reference Mark, i.e. "Bench Mark" is afixed to the bare stone near the fire tower. Perminent ID (PID): OD1723 The arrow points toward Wells Peak.
about 2 miles on a well-defined, though rough and rocky trail which climbs about 1,500 feet to the summit were the elevation is 2,653 feet. Sweeping views of 300° from the open area of rocks at the summit are enjoyed during a well deserved rest. The estimated average time to hike the trail is about an hour and 20 minuets, one-way. Due to its location near the Lake George-Sacandaga area more than 10,000 hikers visit the summit year round.
Additional keywords. Sacandaga Adirondack Mountains
Categories. Notable Buildings
View From Hadley Mountain Fire Tower image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
6. View From Hadley Mountain Fire Tower
The view to the west reveals the upper arm of the Great Sacandaga Reservoir near the town of Day and hamlet of Conklingville.
Trail Register & Hiker's Advisory image. Click for full size.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, June 30, 2008
7. Trail Register & Hiker's Advisory
This map is posted beside the trailhead register, with notes that detail the trail to the mountain top.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 12, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 5,502 times since then and 7 times this year. Last updated on July 17, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on July 12, 2008, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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