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5 Lodge Construction and Arrival of CCC Company #692 J oseph F. Booten, chief of design for the Division of Architecture and Engineering of the Illinois Department of Public Works and Buildings, was the chief architect of Giant City’s lodge as well as of the lodges designed at the same time for the other Illinois state parks: White Pines, Starved Rock, Pere Marquette, and Black Hawk. Booten has written of the great hurried pressure his staff was under in the planning of the lodges, for they were expected to design lodges and cabins for five state parks at the same time.1 Records indicate that Joseph T. Golabowski was the assistant architect who may have actually drawn the plans for Giant City’s lodge. Ross Caldwell was the architect engineer for the National Park Service in 1938 who also worked on the lodge at Giant City.2 All of the lodges were built for the needs of the overnight camper and the daytime visitor. All of them except the lodge at White Pines enclose grand two-story spaces and massive stone fireplaces. The purpose of Booten’s designs was to create the mood for woodland retreats and relaxation. He wanted the stone exteriors and big, hewn timbers to create a protected fortress effect. It has been noted that the obvious material strength conveys “a feeling of enduring security, perhaps necessary as an architectural narcotic for urban tourists.” The lodges were all built of indigenous building materials: in the case of Giant City’s lodge, native sandstone and hardwood trees.3 The lodge designs were to be exciting mixtures of the traditional and the new. The The miniature model of the lodge that sat in the Department of the Interior office, where George Oliver showed it to Fannie Lirely just after they met in the summer of 1934. National Archives, CCC records, Project 28C, photo #8. 79 5LSSHO&KUHYLQGG $0 arrival of ccc company  80 two folk building traditions of stonemasonry and horizontal log construction were used, but Booten and his assistants also employed “mixed horizontal and vertical wooden gables, roof purlins of round logs extended beyond the roof edge, wooden balconies, a variety of saddle-notching, and queen post roof trusses unknown together or individually in any building before the twentieth century.” They also added decorative details to the ironwork in the hinges, lighting fixtures, and door bolts. Elaborate roof truss systems are exposed in all the lodges. Giant City’s lodge originally comprised a central two-story building with two identical wings to the north and south, all made of stone. The north wing, which was built last, was designed as the dining and kitchen area. The south wing was to function as the comfort station, complete with restrooms and showers for campers. The identical east and west entrances would feature flagstone terraces and three double doors opening into the lounge. The lounge’s impressive central interior would rise up twenty-two feet from the floor to the exposed log ceiling trusses. At the south end of the lounge was to be a massive stone fireplace flanked by stairs on both sides that would lead up to a surrounding balcony overlooking the lounge. The effect was designed to be rustic but cathedral-like, something unseen before in a public building in southern Illinois.4 In June 1934, the construction of Giant City lodge began with the building of a miniature model. Also in June, a detail of about thirty men began digging the trenches for the foundation footings. All of the camp’s dump trucks were constantly busy, hauling hundreds of cubic yards of dirt away from the lodge site or unloading materials for the lodge construction. The quarry crew was busy all during June and July, blasting, cutting, and hauling 233 yards of selected face stone to the lodge site from a quarry located near Makanda. Another crew unloaded from Makanda’s train station two carloads of cement, two carloads of crushed stone, and four carloads of sand for the footings.5 Truck being filled with surface dirt, which was removed down to rock bed, at stone quarry located off the park property, summer 1934. National Archives, CCC records, photo #10. 5LSSHO&KUHYLQGG $0 arrival of ccc company  81 The concrete footings were poured the first week of July 1934, using 843 cubic feet of sand, 1,405 cubic feet of stone, and 698 bags of cement . The laying of the stone foundation began...


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