June Ash and Gordon Ash Interview, November 1, 2016


June Ash
Gordon Ash


Beth Hodder



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Download Transcript of June Ash and Gordon Ash Interview (195 KB)


June Ash describes the summer of 1952 when she and her husband, Rod Ash, worked as fire lookouts on the Big Swede Lookout in the Kootenai National Forest near Libby, Montana. Ash tells how they moved from Berkeley, California, after attending college for their lookout jobs with the U.S. Forest Service. She shares memories of their time as lookouts, and notes the Big Swede was a hub of activity and they entertained a number of visitors including railroad workers, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and people from other lookouts. Ash describes baking bread and making jam on a wood stove, and doing laundry both on the stove and at the laundromat. She recalls how their time as lookouts had a positive impact on their lives even after they returned to California to teach, telling how they purchased a summer cabin in Condon, Montana, returned often to visit the Big Swede, and became lifelong Forest Service volunteers.


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Document Type

Oral History


Swan Valley, Montana; Condon, Montana; Kootenai National Forest; Fire lookouts, Montana; Forest fires, Montana; U.S. Forest Service; Big Swede Lookout

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Northwest Montana Lookout Association Oral History Project, OH 453, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 453-003

Media Type

Sound; Text

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:48:51 minutes

Local Filename

OH_453_003.mp3; OH_453_003.pdf

June Ash and Gordon Ash Interview, November 1, 2016