Is there a way to keep the Esri Basemap USGS topo at 1:24,000 map and not have it automatically change to the 1:100,000 map when I zoom out? Yes, I know it will be hard to read.
Nope, that basemap is cached using a scale dependent map. When you zoom out to 100k you get the 100k topo, no getting around it.
If you aren't dealing with a large geographic area you could find the DRGs and store them locally.
Retrieving data ...