By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection

TITLE: CRESTLINE TRIBUTE TO THE PILOT ROCK FIREFIGHTERS: This week’s image shows a life-sized statue of a firefighter placed in front of the previous Crestline Chamber office on Lake Drive. In 1964 the citizens of Crestline initiated an effort to honor the inmate crewmen at Pilot Rock Conservation Camp. An Appreciation Day was planned for April 27th and after a petition of 2000 signatures was collected California Governor Edmund G. Brown was invited and agreed to attend. Pilot Rock at this time was administered by the California Department of Corrections and the Division of Forestry. The firefighters from Pilot Rock were a Crestline community fixture and served for decades into the future. Not only did they fight fires and maintain fire roads, but they trimmed trees, provided insect control, and cleared brush in addition to other things. The program to train and employ inmate firemen was very important at Pilot Rock. The training program permitted the firefighters to provide services to the community in addition to learning skills that gave inmates jobs after their sentences were completed. The 27th of April was a busy day for Governor Brown who traveled to Southern California, met with Pilot Rock officials and toured the complex. Later that day Brown presided over the dedication ceremonies at Club San Moritz. The inscription on the statue reads: “This statute is dedicated to the men who fight fires threatening to destroy California’s forests – to foresters, to firemen, to citizen volunteers and to the inmate crews of Pilot Rock and other Conservation Camps throughout California. Dedicated April 27th, 1964, by the citizens of Crestline.”  Many of the local merchants put in ads in the Crestline Courier supporting the efforts of the Pilot Rock crews. In 2004 Russ Keller wrote a column on this very same subject. At that time no one knew when the statue disappeared or where it went to. If anyone has any idea where the statue is or what happened to it, please contact the Rim of the World Historical Society.

Share this: