Rat Lake Lookout Site
US 1743, WI 2
1966 postcard

1966 postcard - courtesy of Ron Kemnow

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 1743, WI 2 (view other lookout sites in United States, Wisconsin)
Date Registered March 3, 2019
Nominated by Brecken Young
Location Lincoln, Forest County, Wisconsin
Coordinates N 45° 33.482' W 088° 48.838' (view using Google Maps)
N 45° 33' 29" W 088° 48' 50"
N 45.558028° W 088.813964°
Elevation 1,938 ft (591 m)
Removed circa 1980s
Administered by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Cooperators Forest County Potawatomi (property owners)

Description

At the second highest elevation in the state, Sugar Bush Hill has housed three fire lookout towers since the 30’s as well as a massive AT&T microwave tower.  The name Rat Lake comes from nearby Wabikon Lake, alternatively called Rat Lake.  The first lookout was a steel structure with a cab less than 100’ tall.  It was replaced by a wooden tower 101’ 6” tall built in January and February of 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Historic photos of the time show a towerman’s dwelling existed along with the wooden tower.  At an unknown later date the wooden structure was replaced with a steel stairway style tower, likely an Aermotor MC-39.  Rat Lake served as a lookout and radio link for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources until the late 80’s or early 90’s.  It was deemed unnecessary at that time as the seen area from other adjacent lookouts covered most of the surrounding area.  Today, all that remains of the lookouts and the communications tower are the four footings of the Aermotor style tower which was the last lookout to occupy the site. 

Map

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Photos

Postcard from unknown date

Postcard from unknown date

1938 photo

1938 photo - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

1938 photo of old tower from its replacement

1938 photo of old tower from its replacement - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

1938 view looking east

1938 view looking east - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

1958 view

1958 view - courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources