After more than 2.6 million acres of forest land had burned in the years between 1913 and 1922, the state began constructing fire towers at strategic locations to provide an early system of alerting forestry officials of wildfires. The Elk State Forest District # 13 was charged with the protection of 720,000 acres of forest land in mostly Elk and Cameron Counties. Between 1920 and 1925 seven fire towers were constructed on the Elk State Forest.
The Wildwood Fire Tower was constructed by the Pennsylvania Department of Forests & Waters in 1922. It stood near a ridge along the continental divide just east of the Shawmut Railroad grade in the Straight Creek area of Jones Township. The Wildwood tower provided a southern and easterly view overlooking the headwaters of the Driftwood Branch of the Sinnemahoning as well a northern and westerly view of the East Branch of the Clarion River watershed.
This tower was connected by telephone to the Home Telephone Company at the former village of Straights.
The fire tower was dismantled in 1976. After the widespread use of wireless radios and aircraft, many of the fire towers across the state were dismantled.
Today, the site of the former fire tower is occupied by a 330-foot state telecommunications tower and a 12′ x 16′ equipment shelter which was constructed in 2002 as part of the Commonwealth’s Statewide Communications Network.
Today, the Wildwood area of Jones Township is a highly developed area for shale gas exploration. Seneca Resources has developed several shale gas well sites throughout the area.