High Knob Enhacement Corporation tower

High Knob Fire Tower in the 1950sThe original High Knob fire tower was a 14 foot by 14 foot wooden house built in 1938-39 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  The picture to the left shows this small tower in the 1950s. 

Later, the original building was replaced by the tower our community came to love, a three-story structure built by the Flatwoods Job Corps in 1978-79.

High Knob TowerLike other fire towers, the purpose of the structure was to provide a vantage point from which the surrounding countryside could be surveyed in search of forest fires.  At an elevation of about 4,162 feet, the High Knob fire tower did its job well, providing views of Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.

Tower FireOn Halloween 2007, the High Knob tower was destroyed by an arsonist.  Although Forest Service employees and local fire departments rushed to the scene, the fire tower was already engulfed in flames and could not be saved.

The High Knob Enhancement Corporation and the USDA Forest Service - George Washington and Jefferson National Forests have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding which establishes in general terms the co-operative relationship of the two groups as they work collaboratively on initiatives that mutually benefit their mission and objectives including the development and rebuilding of the High Knob Observation Tower and associated facilities and projects.