From a Scrapbook collection of Milton Loring; Article originally from Allegany County Democrat
Researched & Transcribed by Mary Rhodes in cooperation with Tina Wightman, Willing Town Historian
September 12, 1947
Fire Tower on Alma Hill, Peak
Populated Height in State
Alma Hill, highest point in New York State outside of the Adirondacks and Catskills, has a fire tower station.
The tower construction has been under way the past several months. But only recently had it come to the attention of these columns. Since then, efforts to obtain full details of the project have been futile locally.
So far information within the hill region goes the tower has been built by the state. Crews out of Wellsville were said to have done the work. Since no state office directly related to fire observation work has been located in Wellsville, points beyond these general facts could not be cleared.
The town is located near the spot marked by the United States Geodetic Survey as 2,548 feet elevation. The top of the tower is visible from the macadam road about a sixth of a mile distant.
Alma Hill was first identified as the highest point outside the state’s two mountain areas in “Peaks of Allegany”, first published in ten Allegany County papers, including The Democrat, in 1940. Since then the material has appeared in booklet form. The 2,548 foot elevation was first estimated as the maximum elevation recorded on the Geodetic Survey maps, and confirmed by the survey director in Washington after subsequent inquiry.
Since then the Alma Hill elevation has gained general acceptance as identifying the section, and it has come to be prominently marked on all maps of the section.
A wide swath has been cut through the trees from the road to the tower and a telephone line installed to the tower.
Alma Hill shares with other closely approximating hilltops the role of giving to Allegany County the distinction of being the highest populated part of the Empire State. Several homes are scattered across Alma Hill, with the large Quick home marking the residence of the oldest and best known family on the hill. While land is cleared there and some cultivation is carried on, oil lease work accounts mainly for the occupation of residents.
Other hilltops over the county, however, lay claim to a population engaged mainly in farming. Many of the finest dairy and potato farms are so identified. In “Peaks of Allegany” the Gus Lynch farm on Round Top, in the town of Andover, was referred to as probably the highest first class farm in New York State. Intervening years have brought no rival claimants, though the data has been made available in booklet form and in consultation to state agricultural and geological officials. The Lynch farm peak is 2,400 feet and land is cultivated to the very top.
The Alma Hill fire tower is on land owned by Mrs. J. Milton Carpenter of Wellsville, while the oil lease is owned by a branch of the Vossler family.