|Log Lodge History|
This building, popularly known as the Log Lodge, represents an important and memorable era in the 20th century. It was built by men assigned to four Civilian Conservation Corps camps in the area.
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Created in 1933, the CCC was one of the first government-sponsored work programs formed to help the nation fight its way out of the Great Depression by easing the unemployment situation. CCC work embodied many activities, including natural resource conservation projects such as planting trees, fighting fires, and constructing buildings, bridges, and roads. Some 3 to 4 million men at one time or another were enrolled in the CCC.
Construction of the lodge was started in 1934 by the Works Progress Administration, but work stopped when the structure was four logs high. It was completed in 1937 by the CCC.
The building was modeled after lodges in Yellowstone National Park. All logs and lumber used in the building came from trees growing on "the farm," as the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center was known then. Only items such as the hardware windows and stones for the fireplaces came from other sources. The logs were cut from the straightest and tallest trees on the farm. Most are pine. The big uprights are white oaks. Some of the timbers are 40 to 50 feet long. A sawmill was set up at the site to cut them to size. The logs were then treated with a preservative and put into place.
The Log Lodge was used for recreational purposes by the CCC until the corps was disbanded in 1942. After 1942, the lodge was converted into a cafeteria, and it continued in use for that purpose until 1985. It was the scene of many VIP luncheons. Its more famous patrons included President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Secretary of Agriculture and Mrs. Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture and Mrs. Orville Freeman, and Russian Premier and Mrs. Nikita Khrushchev.
In renovating the Log Lodge, every effort was made to maintain the original appearance of the exterior.