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Building the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower 2006 marked the 50 th anniversary of the construction of the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower. Because of improved fire fighting.

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Presentation on theme: "Building the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower 2006 marked the 50 th anniversary of the construction of the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower. Because of improved fire fighting."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower 2006 marked the 50 th anniversary of the construction of the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower. Because of improved fire fighting technology, fire tower lookouts have become outdated and the tower has been closed. Today, visitors hiking the Rankin Ridge Nature Trail enjoy spectacular views from the tower and experience a part of the park’s history.

2 The First Park Fire Tower The first fire tower at Wind Cave National Park was a “crow’s nest” style tower constructed on Elk Mountain near the site of the present campground.

3 The Move to Rankin Ridge In 1952 the “crow’s nest” fire tower was moved from Elk Mountain to Rankin Ridge, the highest point in the park. However, it quickly became clear that a more adequate tower would be needed.

4 Construction Begins On December 5, 1955 Wind Cave National Park purchased a 54 foot high steel fire tower with a 14 by 14 foot cab from the Dresser-Ideco Company of Columbus, Ohio. The purchase price was $9, Construction began on April 16, May 22, 1956

5 Ready for the Cement Workers poured the concrete leg bases for the tower. These bases measured 5 feet 6 inches square by one foot deep. A 16 inch by 16 inch column extended 6 feet above the base. May 24, 1956

6 Pouring the Concrete Base The freshly poured base was allowed to cure. May 24, 1956

7 Pouring Concrete into the Wooden Column Form May 24, 1956

8 Adequately Cured The base column concrete cured for four days. Then the form was removed and soon after work was started on backfilling the bases and columns with soil. May 29, 1956

9 Ready for the Steel The Supervisor of Construction, Frank Phillips, anchored the first piece of steel to the concrete base. May 30, 1956

10 The Structure Starts to Take Form Once the bases were in place, work progressed quickly on the steel structure. June 8, 1956

11 A Rare Problem One of the few problems encountered during the construction process was the discovery that one of the stairway landings had not been shipped to the park. After contacting the manufacturer on June 27 th the missing part was fabricated and shipped out. It was received by the construction crew on July 9 th. June 15, 1956

12 The Finished Product Records indicate that construction of the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower was completed prior to January 1 st of After labor and equipment costs, the final price of its construction was $14, Adjusted for inflation to 2006 prices, the tower cost $95,

13 A Glimpse into the Past The fire tower was staffed from 1957 until Many fires that might have gone undetected were discovered early because of the vigilance of the fire tower staff. They helped fire fighters locate and extinguish the fires before they became problems.

14 New Technology Pushes Towers into the Past Today, fire fighters use air- planes, satellite, and GPS technology to locate fires. With satellite technology, fire fighters are able to locate lightning strikes almost as soon as they occur.

15 A Hike to the Past A hike to the Rankin Ridge Fire Tower gives us the chance to visit a past era of the park and provides us with extraordinary vistas of the Wind Cave National Park and the surrounding area.


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