Fire Tower History
When one takes in the view of the Catskill forest from a fire tower in 2020, they see a heavily forested, lush, green and healthy landscape. That was not the case in the early 1900’s. At that time, the Catskill landscape consisted of farm buildings, homes and businesses that were built of wood and heated with wood. The logging business and the tanning industry were working in the forest, harvesting trees and bark on a daily basis. Communication systems were poor, with the telephone in its infancy. Transportation was still by foot, horse, and rail. Trains passed through the forests with coal sparks flying from their stacks and from the wheels on the rails. This scene was played out throughout New York State.
Bramley’s tower was closed at the end of 1970, and in 1975 the DEC sold the tower for $50 to a local dairy farmer, Pete Clark, of Delhi. Mr. Clark and his helpers took the tower down with great care, saving all parts and even coding many as to their placement. The Clarks hoped to put the tower up on a hill on their farm, but they were never able to accomplish this.
In 1997, a group of Delhi and Bovina residents formed the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower Club, in the hope of restoring the tower to Bramley Mountain. The group raised funds with the goal of purchasing the summit parcel and right-of-way on the old access road as the first steps in their project, but they were unable to come to an agreement with the parcel’s owner. In the end, the funds raised were donated instead to the restoration of the Mt. Utsayantha tower.
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The Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower
The newly formed Friends of the Bramley Mountain Fire Tower group held its first meeting on the evening of January 6th at the O’Connor Hospital in Delhi. The Friends were formed to organize the reconstruction of the fire tower that was decommissioned by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970 and removed in 1975. With the formation of the Friends group, the effort to raise funds and complete the resurrection of the tower has officially begun.
Among those agreeing to serve on the Friends’ board of directors are Ann Roberti, who will serve as president. Ann shepherded the project through the approval stages with Rick Roberts, who will serve as Vice-President. They will be joined by Amy Beveridge, David DeForest, Wendell George, Don Harris, Jillienne LaFever, Laurie Rankin, John Sandman, Jeff Senterman and Doug Sluiter.
Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower has received its 501c3 tax exempt designation so all donations are deductible from income taxes to the extent provided by law. Another step in the effort to restore the tower to Bramley Mountain has been accomplished!
While the novel coronavirus pandemic caused the Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower to scale back our fundraising efforts on the project, we have continued to take important steps to move the project forward, where practical. –We submitted our application to become a 501(c)3 organization back in June and are awaiting approval from the IRS. …
The Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower group had its inaugural meeting on January 6, 2020. Onward and upward!
Email inquiries to info@BramleyMountainFireTower.org
Click here to be added to the Friends of Bramley Mountain Fire Tower’s email list, to get more detailed news on the progress of the fire tower project and to learn about volunteer opportunities. Volunteers will be needed throughout the project, to assist with fundraising, to help sort the components of the tower for inspection, painting components, assistance during construction as well as work afterwards staffing the cabin for visitors. Sign up and be part of the fun!