Smith Mountain Fire Tower
The Smith Mountain Fire Tower was the result of a cooperative agreement between Alabama Power Co., the Tallapoosa County Forest Conservation Association and the Alabama Division of Forestry. Since 1939, the tower has stood like a sentinel over Lake Martin and the woodlands that cover its shores. For four decades, the tower was vital in the fight against forest fires. It has been a landmark for boaters and a destination for intrepid hikers, who are treated to sweeping views of the lake from the mountaintop, which looms 780 feet above the water.
Shortly after the tower was built on Alabama Power Co. property, the Alabama Division of Forestry assumed responsibility for oversight of the property, which was conveyed to the state. Using Civilian Conservation Corps labor, the division developed a district ranger station at the base of the tower in 1941. None of the buildings remain, although some foundations are evident. The Smith Mountain Fire Tower Historic District is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
All that remains from the days when Smith Mountain played an integral role in fire detection in Tallapoosa County is the tower itself. The tower is classified as an Aermotor Company Model LS-40. Constructed of prefabricated, galvanized steel, the LS-40 is essentially an erector set composed of four component parts: piers, legs or shaft, stairs and landings and a cab or house.
Beginning in 2008, Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) began an effort to obtain the property from Alabama Power Co and undertake the restoration of the tower. When completed in 2012, the tower and surrounding trails will be open for public use. Lake Martin Resource Association, along with several other organizations and volunteers worked with CRATA to make this old vista available to the public and provide yet another recreation site on Lake Martin.