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Restoration work begins on Harney Peak tower

RAPID CITY (AP) — The historic Lookout Tower at Harney Peak in western South Dakota is being restored.

The 7,242-foot-high peak is the highest point in the Black Hills and also billed as the highest point in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The stone tower that was built there in 1938 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and once used as a fire lookout is now a tourist attraction and in need of repair.

U.S. Forest Service employees and volunteers this week are installing 19 replica windows and three replica doors at the site, the Rapid City Journal reported.

"There is only one Harney Peak," said Jackson Poppen, a Forest Service historic preservation specialist. "This is on the National Register (of Historic Places) for a reason; it's architecturally very significant and we need to preserve it."

The work this week is part of a five-year plan for the tower that also includes redoing a lot of the masonry work and rebuilding an observation deck on the highest floor.