Squally Jim Lookout Site & Walville Peak
Located on a lesser highpoint of Walville Peak, a prominent mountain in the Willapa Hills was a historic fire lookout location called Squally Jim. Two structures were reported to have existed on this mountain, the first was built in 1941. "It was of semi-permanent character. The lumber for this building was donated by the Willapa Harbor Lumber Mills, a division of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company. This concrete and effective cooperation is most gratefully acknowledged. A road, approximately one mile in length was built to the top of the hill chosen as the lookout site, and a building 10 feet square by 16 feet high was erected. The upper floor, which is glassed in, constitutes the lookout proper, the living quarters being the lower area. It is expected that this site will be used for six or more years, when another hill, approximately one mile to the west will be logged by truck, and both roads will then connect. At that time a more permanent lookout will be erected. The area surrounding this lookout was used as a temporary site for one summer, and proved its value for observation. (34th Annual Report of the Washington Forest Fire Association) In 1944 the facility was utilized as an Aircraft Warning Station during the war (How 1-2). Improvements added by the AWS was a 12 x 20 garage. At the end of the war, the State retained the site for fire. A USGS party in 1952 called the building a cupola lookout. In 1955, a 40 foot wooden timber tower lookout with a 14x14 foot live-in cab was built (likely at the new location at the Walville Peak summit 1 mile west). The cab was the new standard, built of plywood and glass with an aluminum roof which overhangs the building to act as a sun shade. Eight years later during the 1962 Columbus Day storm, it was destroyed. An identical tower replaced it the same year, but six years later in 1968 the tower was destroyed by the State. It is also possible (need source), at one of the 2 sites that there was first a 83 foot wooden tower with a 7x7 foot cab.
Washington Lookout Sites
Many forest roads will get you there. The one on my map below is on state lands so access us usually pretty good. There is a gate at the start but it is often open, especially during hunting season.
This article on June 10, 1927 in the Chehalis Bee-Nugget mentions the building a phone line to the Walville lookout station. Sometime between 1927 and 1942 the location name may have been changed to Squally Jim. Or, maybe a original site existed on the summit of Walville Peak in the earliest days. The Walville benchmark on the summit didn't go in until 1955 whereas the benchmark at Squally Jim was placed in 1952 stamped with the wording Squally Jim.
About half the site was harvested in 2015 opening up big views to the north. A new road will also take you to the summit. The actual site of the buildings was not disturbed but excavators got very close to tearing it up. The original road to the side from the northwest was not disturbed.
Who Was Squally Jim?
I believe he was Jim Sanders, of the Chehalis Tribe, born in 1830 and died sometime after 1905. He was commonly known as Squally Jim having been given a English Christian name and thought to come from the Nisqually Tribe. He was married to Lucy Quapaw. They had several children, with some posterity still in the Chehalis area today. The family has a long history in the logging industry but I could not find why this lookout location was named after Jim. We do know that at one time, Jim worked with the Post Office Department to carry the mail from Rochester to Lincoln Creek. His son George was a known speaker of the "Squally" language. Another son Andrew is shown working in a logging camp on the 1920 census. It's unlikely Squally Jim worked at the lookout station, he would have been 100 years old in 1930. The 1980 Metsker map shows the lookout called "Squally Jim Jr." so that could explain something. My guess is a son worked at the station and named it for his father.
1980 Metsker Map showing it as Squally Jim Jr.
1975 Metsker Map showing it as Squally Jim Jr.
Elevation: 2,419 feet in Pacific County
Elevation Gain: 20 feet
Spokane Daily Chronicle - Sep 24, 1951
Squally Jim site in 2015 with fresh harvest to the east
Old road from the north up to the lookout site
Squally Jim Lookout Site looking west
A few feet below the Squally Jim Lookout Site looking northwest
Squally Jim Lookout Site from P and E Ridge
View South from P and E Ridge
View across to Squally Jim from the east
Found one anchor or footing bolt
Looking up to the site from the old access road
New road up to the Squally Jim area and ridge going to Walville Peak
1942 to 1955 structure
1955 to 1968 structure
Another name story.....
Story from a man who visited the lookout in 1967 as a boy scout and can remember the tower. "As far as the name, my dad used to tell me that it got it's name from a radio call one day from Dispatch to the lookout. Apparently, the dispatchers name was Jim, and when he called the lookout during a storm to see how the weather was, he answered back "it's squally Jim", referring to the weather. Thereafter the name of the lookout was Squally Jim.