comstock fire tower pic

Comstock Fire Tower Hill History

President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the New Deal in the 1930s, which led to the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). During the Great Depression, the CCC employed young men to address environmental and infrastructure needs across the United States. Lewiston, Michigan, benefited from the CCC’s work and established a base camp here. The CCC’s job included building a fire tower in Lewiston known as the Comstock Fire Tower.

The fire tower was essential for the early detection of forest fires and was manned during the summer or dry season. A trained individual manned the tower to spot the first signs of smoke.  Lewiston was chosen because the hill is one of the highest spots on the state’s east side at 1,440 ft. in elevation, not including the tower height.  During World War II, the towers were repurposed for fire spotting and aircraft warnings.

The need for fire towers dwindled as technology advanced after World War II. Comstock Fire Tower was used until the early 1960’s.  A group of men purchased 400 acres of property around, including the fire tower, in the late 1960s as the tower became in disrepair. One of those men, Peter Swallow, became the managing partner as he had connections to the town of Lewiston. His children, David and Mary Ellen, would spend the summers at their grandparent’s cottage on West Twin Lake. As the managing partner, Peter and his children would pick up glass bottles around the fire tower once a month during the summer because it became a hangout for local teenagers.  The tower was sold in 1975 and torn down in 1976, and the land was sold to other developers. The footings of the fire tower still stand in the original location to this day.

In the late 1980s, David Chapoton and his then-wife built a bed and breakfast on Comstock Hill. The B&B had 15 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms and also featured a nationally sanctioned croquet court overlooking East Twin Lake.

Then in 2017, Mary Ellen Aria, the daughter of former managing partner of the Comstock Hill property Peter Swallow, purchased her own cottage in Lewiston. While looking around the area of Lewiston for investment opportunities, she saw that the Bed & Breakfast, along with 80 acres of surrounding property, were up for sale. While touring the property she had the vision of a wedding venue and felt it would be a great addition to the area. After extensive renovations to the building and the surrounding landscaping, her vision became a reality and the Manor of Fire Tower Hill had its first wedding in September 2018!