Sunday, March 16, 2014

Parkitecture: Starved Rock Lodge

Indoor activities at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL, are to be had within this wonderful Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)-built lodge designed by Joseph F. Booten. It is slightly atypical as the exterior is not stone but it most certainly qualifies as significant parkitecture, not only because of it's historic value but because of its size and continuing high volume of year-round activity.
Though rustic, the exterior is a bit pedestrian (to my eye). However, on closer inspection, it abounds with fine 1930's Craftsman detail, as can be seen on the large ironwork hinges on the main doors from the outside,
with further features of the era on the inside:
A major principle of CCC works was the use of local materials, as in the massive limestone fireplace, still wood-burning and wonderfully fragrant and cozy (especially in Polar Vortex times), in the center of the lounge:
The chimney is similarly impressive. However, the moose is revisionist history, as Illinois summers are too hot for moose (and for me too, a lot of the time), and they have never been found in the state.  The chandelier, however, is fully in keeping with the parkitectural theme.
The furnishings in the restaurant and lounge were built to match, and to last.
While the lodge's original decor and accoutrements wonderfully transport one to an earlier time there are also successful contemporary references to the region's past, such as Linda Lowe's "Starved Rock Cartograph" pentaptych installation in the registration area:
And Michael Jones's "Starved Rock Totem" on the grounds:
And these clever, if not especially artistic, chain-saw productions arising from rooted tree stumps around the lodge:
What a great celebration of an unmatched period in public architecture Starved Rock Lodge is.

1 comment:

  1. That does it! I hereby vow to start paying more than casual attention to parkitechture. A regular visitor to State and National Parks, I think I could do better than I've been doing..... And yes I remember your previous lessons on the famous ones in Yellowstone and Mount Hood.