Devil’s Head Lookout

Designated: February 28, 2006
Location: Sedalia
Current Owner: Pike National Forest
Nominated By: Barbara Machann, Mary Douglas Young, Carol Meyer and Mary Cornish

Historic Significance

William R. Kreutzer, a native of the Sedalia area, and the first U.S. Forest Ranger may have used Devil’s Head summit as a wildfire lookout.  He served what was to become the South Platte District of the Pike National Forest between 1898 and 1905.  In 1907, the newly created Forest Service planned seven principal lookouts along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains between New Mexico and Wyoming.  Devil’s Head was selected to be the location of one of only four lookouts that were eventually established.

Helen Dowe was the first female fire lookout stationed at Devil’s Head, where she served from 1919 to 1921. Dowe was hired because there was a shortage of able-bodied men brought about by World War I.  Her position drew national attention, making her a role model for women throughout the country.

The original lookout was constructed in 1919 and was replaced by the current one in 1951.  It took 100 men and 71 mules to dismantle the old tower and construct the new one.  Devil’s Head Lookout sits on a granite outcrop at the highest point of Rampart Range at an elevation of 9,748 feet.  Fires can be easily spotted up to a distance of 75 miles away.  This site has been in continuous use since 1912 and is the last full-time Lookout in Colorado.  Although the Lookout is only manned during the summer months, it receives several thousand visitors each year.

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