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Siskiyou Mountain Range

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Historic Osborne Photos

Bolan Lake from the Bolan Peak Lookout-1934

The historic Osborne photos highlighted on this post are just a few of the many lookout photos taken in the 1930s from Forest Service lookouts all across the Northwest. William Bushnell Osborne, a Forest Service employee and inventor, developed the Osborne Firefinder in 1911 for use at fire lookouts, and in 1932 developed the Osborne Swing Lens Camera. With his Swing Lens Camera he traveled the Northwest photographing the landscape from fire lookouts on National Forest and Park Service lands. 

The photos are an excellent representation of historic forest conditions and patterns in the early part of the 20th century. The photos can be used to not only document and analyze historic conditions, but can also be used to contrast historic conditions from those that exist today. The photos document the influence of fire on the landscape in an era when fire suppression in the Siskiyou Mountains was still fairly ineffective, and landscape change associated with fire suppression was not nearly as evident as it is today. The photos also document the impact of industrial forest management, road building and clear-cut logging, that although mostly non-existant in the 1930s, is very evident today. The photos represent historic conditions across the Siskiyou Crest region in the 1930s.

Applegate foothills from the old Stein Butte Lookout-1934
Looking southeast into the Siskiyou Wilderness from the old Sanger Peak Lookout-1934
View from the old Whisky Peak Lookout-1933
The Red Buttes Wilderness from the old Windy Peak Lookout-1934