High on a bluff overlooking the 2,600 plus acres of the state park, the Starved Rock Lodge reigns as an enduring testament to the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Each year, millions of visitors are awed by the grandeur of the lodge, but few realize the legacy that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vision authored.
Providing a long term plan for the preservation of our national lands, Roosevelt’s environmental program also addressed the depression era’s immediate need for employment of the nation’s male youth. Much of the country’s landscape has been protected from erosion, flooding, and deforestation by the painstaking labor of the CCC’s work force. Today we continue to enjoy and appreciate the beautiful parks, buildings, shelters, and conservation areas that are a direct result of this period of American history.
One of the largest of these 1930’s projects was the Starved Rock Lodge. Under the direction and design of architect Joseph Buten, the rustic lodge and pioneer cabins were constructed of rough hewn Indiana white pine. Over 250 tons of Joliet limestone was used to create the massive two sided fireplace in the stately Great Hall. Even more of Illinois’ famous limestone went into the foundation and chimneys.
Completed in 1939, the original structure, character and appearance of these buildings have been diligently maintained. In 1985 the Starved Rock Lodge and cabins achieved the distinction of being added to the National Register of Historic Places. An addition in 1989 created an indoor pool complex, conference rooms and more lodging options for the growing number of annual visitors.
Step through the lodge doors and become one of those guests. Dance at a wedding, read by the fire, indulge in dessert, learn about eagles and owls, and laugh with your bartender. Invite yourself to history.
Starved Rock Lodge »