Chews Ridge Lookout is in the Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest. The lookout is located approximately 50 miles southeast of Monterey and approximately 30 miles west of Highway 101. The lookout sits at an elevation of 5,043 feet.
There are several sources of historical information regarding Chews Ridge Lookout. Websites here, here, and here provide some details. For a more in depth treatment, see the Chews Ridge Lookout page on Wikipedia. The main historical reference document seems to be a self published 1988 book titled Lookouts of the Los Padres Forest by Irma Oksen Reaves. What follows is a brief summary of the history of Chews Ridge Lookout based on the aforementioned sources.
The 12′ metal tower was built in the 1920’s. Lookout Arthur Story and his wife were among the first residents of the Chews Ridge Lookout.
Beginning sometime in the 1940’s Lookout C. C. Yates and his wife began staffing the lookout seasonally. They continued this at least until the 1950’s. The cab was rebuilt in 1978 after a fire. In 1984 the cab was renovated and the current R-6 Flat design cab was built.
Chews Ridge Lookout was taken out of service c. 1990. Soon thereafter the Forest Service began using the structure to house radio repeater equipment and to support antennas. In 2017 Scott McClintock, the Director of the California-South Chapter of the National Forest Fire Lookout Association, began working with the Forest Service to get the lookout back into service.
Volunteers from the newly formed Monterey Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association worked with Director McClintock on tower renovations during the Spring and Summer of 2019. The volunteers replaced floor boards, removed rodent debris, installed new flooring and dry wall, and installed necessary equipment. Volunteer lookouts were certified and started working lookout shifts in August 2019.