Historic CCC Lodge renovations ongoing
State hopes to have work done in February 2016
Long-awaited renovations of the three-story CCC Lodge, the historic centerpiece of Roaring River State Park, began in July and are expected to be completed in late February 2016.
Plans include renovating seven rooms for lodging which will include a living room, kitchen and bedroom. The sturdy, rustic structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has not been used for lodging since the 1970s.
Missouri Parks Incorporated Manager David Waugh said numerous people have expressed interest in seeing the nostalgic building restored. A focal point at the park, the lodge was built in 1938 from native stone and timber during the Great Depression by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 1713, who worked in the area from 1933-1939 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration.
A $1.2 million project, Missouri State Parks said the rooms should be available to the public by next spring. The four rooms on the first level will feature balcony views of the river, while the three rooms on the top floor will feature window views. Two of the rooms will feature original fireplaces. The lower level will also be renovated to include a banquet room and kitchen for special events.
The financial investment to restore the lodge is expected to attract more tourists and generate income that will return to benefit the park.
The walls will feature a knotty pine Wainscott coating, and some will have full-length pine walls, construction workers said.
"All in all, it's a really good structure," said Nicholas Eramo, with Construction Services Group, which was hired by the state to complete the renovations. "The CCC workers did an excellent job."
Eramo, who was recently replacing rotten floors, reinforcing joices and beams and leveling floors, said the renovations were timely, because in another 5-10 years, the structure may not have been repairable.
"We had to tear the floor out," he said. "But, the old beams will stay and be integrated."
Eramo said recent flooding caused leaks that had to be addressed. And in some places in the attic, bat guano was six to eight inches thick. Despite the building's age and condition, he was confident renovations will be a success.
"We do a lot of reconstruction," he said. "It will probably be here another hundred years when we are finished with it."
Kerry Hays, Roaring River State Park manager, said a drive through the park shows how the work by the CCC has stood the test of time.
"They did very good work," he said. "The rooms will be to the same quality or better than the other lodging that's here, most of which have been renovated in the last five to seven years."
The exterior will remain the same to preserve history.
"I think that's the most important thing, that when looking at it from the outside, what you will see is a historic structure," Hays said.
All the original windows will stay, with thermopane windows on the interior, Eramo said. And, new cedar shake shingles will be added to the roof.
Hays said along with the park's infamous fishing, its nostalgia and beauty are what in large part draws visitors from far and wide.
"It's what everyone who comes here feels," he said. "I think everybody realizes it truly is worth the trip. Roaring River is a destination park. The reason is because of the many opportunities people have here, including fishing, camping, over 10 miles of hiking [trails that were developed by CCC workers], and a very strong interpretive program where we provide people with information to fully appreciate the outdoors."
An example of that interpretation visitors can see throughout the park are information boards describing the history of the park and the CCC projects that took place
"Those informational boards are there as part of the interpretation of the natural surroundings, but also for the cultural interpretation and historical heritage of the area," Hays said.
Another attraction for visitors are the park's nature center programs.
"The Missouri State Parks is very committed to providing resources, and also information so people have an understanding and appreciation of what they have here and what they're doing," Hays said. "The nature center is the focal point, and during the course of the year, we provide programs. There's a schedule posted every week."