July 22, 1939: "A 67 1/2 foot steel tower has been placed on Elk mountain as a primary station and is manned for the first time this season by Earl Wilkinson. The station is on the west side of the forest and commands a view of the east side of the forest looking toward Pass creek and Minnekahta, north towards the Limestone country and west towards Newcastle. The peak is 4,900 feet high. Living quarters for Wilkinson were built at the foot of the tower." (Rapid City Journal)
August 5, 1939: "Three new stations have been established during the past season. Elk Mountain, Boulder Hill, and Summit and others are being considered. The new stations are of all steel construction. Some of them are 67 1/2 feet in height, with a seven by seven square cab built at the top for an observation tower, and others are 30 foot steel towers, with a 14 by 14-foot square cab, providing living quarters for the attendant." (Lead Daily Call)
September 28, 1941: "Floor of the 7' x 7' cabin is 76 1/2 feet above the ground." (Caption with photo of this date)
July 21, 1945: "Spotting fires isn't the only job that Minnie Cooper, lookout on Elk Mountain, takes care of. She spotted a huge lynx a short time ago, and Sunday was able to get the animal. The large cat was 23 inches tall and 41 inches in length. For some time the animal had been getting some of her chickens, so last Sunday she kept her chickens in a coop, and waited with her .22 rifle until the cat showed up, and then put an end to the chicken killer. The county offers a bounty of $10 on the lynx, which she says will help pay for a few of the chickens it had been getting." (Lead Daily Call)
March 9, 1961: "Withdrawal from appropriation, except under mineral leasing laws, has been ordered on 550.69 acres scattered through the Black Hills National Forest. Most of the land is in tracts of 10 to 40 acres used for fire lookouts." Included in the order: Elk Mountain lookout. (Rapid City Journal)
2001: The Elk Mountain fire burned over the top of the mountain destroying everything but the steel tower.
July 12, 2011: The lookout was evacuated when the 'Whoopup Fire' burned over the top of the mountain. The tower was saved by several retardant drops.