Copernicus

Copernicus Closeup

May 9, 1929: "Provision for a second fire lookout station for Santa Clara County, to be located at East Peak, a half mile east of Lick Observatory, on Mt Hamilton.  The station, to cost approximately $800, will be built on top of a large water tank on East Peak, giving it added height.  Copernicus Peak is the highest peak in Santa Clara County.  Within a mile of Mount Hamilton, on which Lick observatory is located, the new station has an elevation of 4385 feet, which is 163 feet higher than Mt. Hamilton's summit. The new station will be circular in form, following contours of the big water tank. It will be two stories, the lower portion to provide the ranger's living quarters and the upper the circular lookout tower. This will be 11 feet in diameter, enclosed in heavy glass and will have a five-foot porch completely surrounding it.  The original lookout was erected on top of this tank in 1931. 

Copernicus Peak, was named by Dr. Holden, the first astronomer at that site, for Copernicus, the Polish Astronomer who discovered the system of planetary evolution.  

Copernicus Peak Tower is a special design K-brace tower (Plan No. L-901) with a standard live-in cab (Plan No, BC-301 constructed in 1938.  The facility was designed by architects retained by the Forest Service Regional Office in San Francisco.  The tower is 13’ 6” X 13’ 6” base and is only 13’ high and the only 13’ high K-brace structure in California and was so constructed that it would straddle the pre-existing 10,000 gallon concrete water tank.  The existing cab has only a few minor changes:  aluminum roofing added, several shutters replaced, minor interior changes and stairs have been replaced.  The metal-wood catwalk and handrails are 33’ wide by 42” high (respectively).  The cab feathers hopper windows centered between two stationary panes on three sides, with a wood door (glass upper panel) centered on the fourth (east) wall.