Roaring River CCC Lodge renovation nears completion
February 24, 2016
After a year of work, the renovation of the CCC Lodge at Roaring River State Park is almost complete, just past the original deadline of Opening Day 2016. Bill Bryan, Missouri State Parks director, visited the site on Friday, February 19, to look over progress and get an inside look at the $1.37 million project.
Bryan said, “It should be done by the end of March. We had a couple of delays, like termites that need to be treated and a foundation issue that they are repairing, but we’re almost there. We’re very excited, and the work looks great.”
He also noted that the project came in under budget. The initial budget was $1.37 million, but Bryan estimates the final total will be right around $1.2 million. They’ll know the final cost once the foundation work is completed, which should be soon.
While the seven suites and gathering space will be completed in late March, there is not a set date for when the rooms will be ready to rent, nor have the room rates been determined at this point. Bryan said that the public can anticipate State Parks to hold a ribbon-cutting event once the renovations are complete. At that point, more information will be available regarding room rates and when reservations will open.
The CCC Lodge, as it’s been known for decades, was a project that continued the efforts of the Conservation Civilian Corps and was completed as a Works Progress Administration project in 1938 as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Construction of the unique lodge took place from 1936 to 1938.
Patrons continued to rent rooms there until the late 1960’s. Over the years, it’s purpose changed. Downstairs was once a ballroom which eventually became a park office and store. In 2009, the lodge was all but closed except for public restrooms on the bottom level when the new park store was opened. Now, the lodge will return to its glory days a special destination for park goers.
When the lodge was first built, the first floor contained 11 guest rooms that rented out for $6 per night. When the lodge is reopened the first floor will have three suites. Bryan said, “Today’s guests wouldn’t have wanted rooms like the original. They would have been tight.”
However, many of the features were preserved as closely to the original as possible, including replacing the oak floors with new oak. On the exterior of the building, even original doors were kept for appearances, even if they were not used for functional purposes. Bryan said, “It was critical to maintain the outer historic architecture since this building is on the National Historic Register. We’re very proud of that.”
While historic integrity is being preserved, State Parks took guests’ desires into consideration with the new layout of the interior. The seven suites are spacious and all have one or two bedrooms, plus a Murphy bed that pulls down for extra guests. Three of the rooms have gas fireplaces that utilize the existing chimneys that were part of original construction. In all, the lodge will be able to accommodate up to 28 guests at any given time.
The gathering space downstairs will also be a draw for guests. Bryan said, “This will offer an indoor location for people getting together for reunions and other events instead of the outdoor pavilions we already have.” The space will also have a gas fireplace to make it more inviting.
Certain elements of the original lodge were upgraded for energy efficiency and guest comfort. While the design of the windows throughout is the same, all of the glass has been replaced with double-panes. New heating and air units allow for complete temperature control, and existing insulation was replaced.
When construction began inside, the crew found traces of the original workers’ in many places. On an outer beam, names were carved in with dates going back to 1937. When they worked on the walls, they also found the original insulation: trout chow feed sacks stuffed in the walls, showing the waste not-want not mentality of the post-Depression era.
While the lodge will maintain the historic look on the outside, the rooms inside will be more spacious and accommodating, surely making the lodge a popular destination for park goers wanting overnight accommodations. The seven suites will offer beautiful paneling and original exposed beams bringing harmony between modern convenience and historic feel. One room will be completely American Disability Act (ADA) compliant and two other rooms are what Bryan said are “accessible.”
Bryan said that he can’t wait for the public to see the renovation once it is complete. He said, “This is unique in the Missouri State parks because while we have other lodges, this is the only lodging built by the CCC.”