No Business Lookout

A historic photo of the Shellworth Lookout

There are two Idaho fire fighting associations still in existence that are more than one-hundred years old. One is the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association and the other is the Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association. SITPA got its start around 1904 and at one time had a string of seven lookouts that extended from north of McCall down to the Fairfield area. Today they have three active lookouts but No Business is the last remaining SIPTA lookout that was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Those lookouts were constructed under the leadership of Harry Shellworth who started SITPA and ran it for nearly fifty years. His idea was to build grand structures that represented permanence and presence.

No Business Lookout today

"Of course him being the head of Southern Idaho Timber Protective Association and being the head of the Civilian Conservation Corp in Idaho he culminates these perfect buildings that really showcased the work of the Civilian Conservation Corp. He built probably the fanciest lookouts in Idaho and wanted the public to come up and see it so he could inform the general public about fire prevention and how to go about it and he called his lookouts the Gold Lace Lookouts and No Business is the last remaining of those and it is really a showcase lookout, probably one of the finest in Idaho. And southern Idaho Protective Association still uses it as an active lookout."
— Richard Holm Jr., author, "Points of Prominence"

Watching for fire from No Business Lookout

"It's a different style than any place I've ever seen. It is the log cabin, two stories, the lightning harness that surrounds the structure itself and the craftsmanship, the woodworking. Obviously parts have been replaced over the years. It has had a number of changes but the craftsmanship, the permanence and the living quarters were the Cadillacs of the lookout system. Its style, its function is great still and it does still serve the purpose of an education point for talking with the public. It still gives us the opportunity to be seen from the valley floor where many, many homes have been constructed and it does still provide that critical detection link as part of our wild land fire protection. The culture of firefighters, the culture of the people who live and work in these areas is changing all the time and these lookouts have always been a point that I can go back to and they provide me that sense of place that says this is our country."
— Mark Woods, fire warden, Southern Idaho Protective Timber Association