ROBBINS — Sixty-six years after it was constructed, the Black Creek Fire Lookout Tower here has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Black Creek fire tower was one of eight properties across Tennessee added to the National Register of Historic Places, the Tennessee Historical Commission announced last week. Others included a fire lookout tower in Carroll County, the Tennessee War Memorial Building in Nashville, the Mt. Zion Negro School in Gibson County, the Blue Springs Lutheran Church and Cemetery in Greene County, the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Lawrence County, the Harrison Mill Farm in Maury County and Pottsville General Store in Maury County.
“The latest National Register of Historic Places listings reflect Tennessee’s unique heritage and honor a diverse group of places worthy of being recognized and appreciated,” said Patrick McIntyre, the executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission.
Situated on a ridge-top overlooking Black Creek, atop Grassy Knob near the Mountain View neighborhood, the Black Creek fire tower was built in 1951. It is an 80-foot tall bolted steel truss structure that was built by Aeromotor, a leading manufacturer of steel fire towers in the 20th century.
The operator’s cabin, a utility building, crew house and storage shed were also constructed in 1951 and are still located on site.
Fire towers were used to spot forest fires, a common forest conservation effort in the mid 20th century, though they’ve largely fallen out of practice today. At one time, there were 208 fire towers across Tennessee. Today there are little more than 100, including two in Scott County.
The Black Creek tower enabled forest rangers an unobscured view of forests along Grassy, the ridge that separates New River and Clear Fork, which merge at the north end of the ridge to form the Big South Fork River, as well as forests around what are now the Black Creek, West Robbins, Black Creek-Crossroads and Sheep Ranch neighborhoods.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. There are currently more than 2,000 locations in Tennessee on the National Register, which is administered by the National Park Service.
The Black Creek tower is the fifth Scott County property to be listed on the National Register. Others include the old Scott County Jail in Huntsville, First National Bank of Huntsville, located adjacent to the old jail, the Louis E. Bryant house in Oneida and Barton Chapel in Robbins. The fire tower is the first property locally to be added to the register since 1985, when the old bank was listed.