All that we know about the Mount Pacifico fire lookout comes from an LA Times article published on December 4, 1932:
“A marvelous view of hills and mountains and desert can be had from this point. A short walk from the car brought us to the foot of the look-out tower and the more hardy of our party climbed the steel rungs to the small platform, where an unending panorama was had for miles in every direction. The glistening Mojave was right at our back, and seemed to be directly under our feet although in reality it was many miles away.”
If you excessively strain your eyes, you can see two people standing on a platform of the tower. The boulders featured in this photo bear resemblance to the boulders on Mount Pacifico today, although I could not find a perfect angle to recreate this photographer’s perspective. This gave me doubts about whether this was built on the summit proper itself. However, anyone that has visited Mount Pacifico has noticed the metal posts on the tallest boulders. If the above photo had a better resolution I could see how those metal posts were built as the lookout’s base.
Mt. Pacifico as it looks today
Two metal posts cemented on each boulder
Metal post and concrete that may have served as a base for the lookout. Is the center hole where the benchmark used to be?
Other metal post
Summit register and boulder with metal post
A few other interesting remnants along Mt. Pacifico I found were drill holes on the sides of surrounding boulders as well as other hardware bolted or laying around. I have yet to figure out how it all came together.
A metal post may have been fixed in this drill hole. A tail of metal corrosion left behind.
A second drill hole
A third one that experienced a bit more corrosion
Hardware anchored onto the boulder
It’s also interesting to note that although this article called it a fire lookout tower, it doesn’t look like the other lookouts built in the San Gabriels around this time. In fact, it’s the only one that does not remotely resemble the others. All the other towers were built with cabs. So why this kind of lookout was built in Mount Pacifico is a mystery. Regardless of how it looks, the main objective of the early forestry was to get up over the treetops so early lookouts might have climbed a tree, a water tower or building to look for smoke. Besides, similar fire lookout towers without cabs were built throughout the states.
This lookout tower has slipped from history texts, becoming one of the many enduring mysteries of the San Gabriels. What we do know for certain, however, is that these mountains provide us with enjoyment time and time again.