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Details for Benchmark: OM1200

N 43° 40.437 W 089° 46.793 (NAD 83)

Altitude: 0

Coordinates may not be exact. Altitude is UNKNOWN and location is ADJUSTED. (more info)

Location:
In ADAMS county, WI View Original Datasheet
Designation:
THE DELLS LOOKOUT TOWER
Marker Type:
lookout tower
Setting:
setting not listed - see description
Stability:

Must Read!

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This tower is on state property designated as a state natural area. The postings at the gate are ambiguous. One older sign says authorized personnel only, another newer sign says not to block the gate, and another warns against hunting, an inquiry to the DNR is probably in order. I parked in a way that did not block the gate, and proceeded to the site. I located the original footings, and climbed the tower to the platform at the halfway point. Cool tower. Wish I was brave enough to climb to the top.

[Photos:]
photoTower Footing
Original footing
photoLooking West
View of Wisconsin River Valley looking west from first platform of the current tower.

Grabbed some caches, some waymarks, and some benchmarks while my wife was shopping at the outlet mall.

Theoretically this control point is destroyed, since all that is left are the footings of the old tower. You don't need to climb the new tower to enjoy the view, but the steps are a killer.

[Photos:]
photoThe New(ish) Tower
photoFootings from the old tower

went by on the main road looking for a road to go to the tower and then we went all the way aroud all we found was a gate that said keep out so we were not able to go up to the tower to look around

Found the original location and the updated location. The original tower stood about 100 feet west of the existing tower. The tower appears to have been a tripod base rather than the modern four-legged version. Also on the site were two small structures that appear to be outhouses. The journey starts at the bottom however. I believe this is located on state land designated as a wildlife area, although the notices were not clear so I proceeded with respect. The hill known as Elephant's Back extends northwest from this location and is quite impressive.

To access the benchmark location I approached from the west and found the old stone steps going up the hill. I imagine that perhaps in the 1930s this was a Dells tourist attraction. In the photos you will see what a spectacular assent this is.

[Photos:]
photoAhhh the walk back down!
photoView Southwest from tower
photoView to Northeast
Surrounded by trees the views are somewhat obscured. Better weather would have made climbing the tower irresistable.
photoThe new tower
This modern steel tower is located 100 feet east of the original location. As the tower is marked No Climbing I declined to climb higher.
photoThe original tower supports
Upon reaching the top of the stairs it is a short walk to the summit. Here you can see the first tower location and three concrete bases. The NGS coordinates are at the center point of the three supports.
photoThe Second Flight of Steps
Yes, after that initial climb of about 150 feet this is what greats you around the bend. A narrower set of hand-laid stone steps, rising another 150 feet.
photoLooking up the first flight of steps
These hand-laid steps of stone lead from the old parking area up the western slope of the Elephant. One can almost imagine them as the beast's trunk.
photoCaretaker's Cottage
This appears to have been a caretaker's cottage or perhaps a residence for smoke watchers. The house is in excellent shape and appears to be used.
photoThe view from U.S. Highway 13 looking East

Documented History (by the NGS)

01/01/1958 by CGS (FIRST OBSERVED)
DESCRIBED BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1958 (GWM) THE STATION IS THE CENTER OF THE ROOF OF THE LOOKOUT TOWER, LOCATED ABOUT 6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF LYNDON STATION AND 3 MILES NORTH OF THE WISCONSIN DELLS ON A HIGH KNOB KNOWN AS ELEPHANTS BACK. THE TOWER IS APPROXIMATELY 100 FEET HIGH. TO REACH THE STATION FROM THE JUNCTION OF U.S. HIGHWAY 16 AND STATE HIGHWAYS 13 AND 23 IN WISCONSIN DELLS, GO NORTH ON HIGHWAY 13 FOR 3.3 MILES TO A SAND ROAD RIGHT AND A SIGN DELLS TOWER. TURN RIGHT AND GO EAST ON SAND ROAD FOR 0.15 MILE TO PARKING AREA AND ETT. THE LOOKOUT TOWER IS AT THE TOP OF THE STEPS LEADING UP THE SIDE OF THE HILL.
01/01/1960 by CGS (SEE DESCRIPTION)
RECOVERY NOTE BY COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY 1960 (DCM) THE TOWER WAS TORN DOWN IN THE SUMMER OF 1959 AND A SIMILAR TOWER WAS ERECTED A HUNDRED (100) FEET EAST.

Control Text

  • The horizontal coordinates were established by classical geodetic methods and adjusted by the National Geodetic Survey in November 1991.
  • The Laplace correction was computed from DEFLEC99 derived deflections.
  • The geoid height was determined by GEOID99.

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