Agency: LA County Forestry Department (Now LA County Fire Department)
Dates: 1925-1950s
Tower: S40’
Cab: N/A
Status: Demolished
Elevation: 1250 ft
Coordinates: 34.0977, -117.7944
References: Ride the Devil Wind: A History of the Los Angeles County Forester & Fire Warden Department and Fire Protection Districts by David Boucher, De Anza Heights on Peakbagger

San Jose Fire Lookout, 1935

In 1925, local fruit exchanges and water companies met to discuss building a new lookout, south of San Dimas in the San Jose Hills. Haze, arising during summer afternoons in the San Gabriel Mountains blurs the vision of mountain lookouts, so a new lookout on the opposite hills would afford an opportunity of discovering fires more readily in the canyon fronts. 

The lookout was constructed for $700, financed by the fruit exchanges and other associations concerned by watershed protection. The maintenance of the lookout would be the responsibility of the Los Angeles County Forestry Department.

Former Site of San Jose Lookout, with Puddingstone Reservoir in the background

Site of the former San Jose Lookout

Ralph Goddard, of Pasadena, owner of the San Jose hill property, provided the county with the easement of Round Table mountain, site of the tower. Rushed construction of the lookout began on August 1925. Cement was laid out for the base of the lookout, which was made of steel and about 30-40 feet tall.  An aircraft beacon was installed on top of the lookout’s cabin to warn aircraft approaching Brackett field about 3 miles to the west. 

Aerial view of Brackett Field Airport near Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, 1961

Current view of Brackett Airfield with planes constantly landing and taking off

 H. W. Bailey, of Covina, was hired to be the first lookout of the San Jose Lookout tower. Bailey had served as the lookout at the San Dimas tower (Now Johnstone Peak Lookout) several years prior. Other observers of the lookout throughout the years included Bruce Goetz (1927), Dick Groniger (1928), J.B. Sigrist (1935), Oscar Castorina (1942), A.O. Bennett (1943)

Through the years, the lookout helped spot brush fires, dump fires, fires caused by cigarettes and residential fires. By the 1950s, the county had abandoned most of its lookouts due to the rise of smog. 

Commanding view of San Dimas and surrounding cities as well as San Dimas Canyon

View former site on CalTopo

Recent Posts

FIRE LOOKOUTS
Share this story!