Perched on a finger ridge of Cahas Mountain overlooking Wades Gap in Franklin County, Virginia, is John Gabelís tower. Made of local creek rock with a sandwich of reinforced concrete between inner and outer faces, the stone base rises three stories before reaching the cabin level. A spiral staircase, attached to a 30-foot power pole winds its way up to the cabin. The still incomplete two-story cabin will have an eat-in kitchen surrounded by an outside deck with castle-like crenellations in the upright deck railing. Upstairs from the kitchen will be a bedroom and bath with a 360 degree view of the nearby mountains and valleys. Atop the bed and bath will be another deck.

Gabel hopes to invite families or married friends to get away on short vacations to this unique retreat. Picnics, reunions, ice cream socials, and weddings are also possibilities. Gabel doesnít mind the occasional drop in visitor.

Mr. Gabel first broke ground for the tower on April 29, 1993, and expects to complete the tower by about the summer of 2003. The diameter of the tower is 18 feet and when completed, it will stand 50 feet tall. The location of the tower is 2300 feet above sea level, and it has an amazing view of the surrounding area.

For more information, you can contact:

John Gabel
3160 Wades Gap Road
Boones Mill, Virginia 24065
He can sometimes be reached before 11:00 P.M. at (540) 334-2967

Directions to the tower:

Follow Rt. 220 South of Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke, Virginia about 10 miles until you see a green county line sign saying Enter Franklin County. Take the first state road to the right at the bottom of the hill, which will be Rt. 613, Naff Road. Go two and a half miles and turn left onto Rt.726,Wades Gap Road. Then go another two and a half miles to the highest point on the road and turn left into a gravel road, leading into some woods. That will be Mr. Gabel's driveway. Go 500 feet and take the sharp elbow to the left, And you should see the tower. As of yet the tower has no official name, so there is no sign marking the turn.

I spoke to Mr. Gabel recently, and it appears that he is a little behind schedule (aren't we all?) and the estimated date of completion is now probably sometime in 2005.

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A special thanks to John Gabel for the photo and the information.
Photo copyright ©:2002 - John M. Gabel.