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Gooseberry Falls State Park
Descriptions of Selected Resources

Minnesota state parks contain a variety of historic properties. These images are representative of the Rustic Style historic resources built in Minnesota state parks.

Click to see larger image of Concourse Stairs Concourse
Builder: CCC
Architect: Edward W. Barber
Date: 1936-40

The Concourse is actually a massive granite retaining wall over 300' long that provides a parking area and an overlook for the nearby falls and river basin. The wall was built between 1936 and 1940. It was continually expanded and eventually joined the rock-encased abutments of the Gooseberry River bridge. Click to see larger historic drawing of Concourse The wall is 12' wide at the base and is generally 20'-25' high with stone walls extending below-grade to solid rock. Some of the rock sections of the wall weigh more than seven tons. The parking area features stone flagging, several overlooks including a semi-circular projection, and a stone drinking fountain. One of the final sections to be completed was a massive stairway leading to restroom facilities built at the base of the wall.

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Click to see larger image of Water Tower Water Tower
Builder: CCC
Architect: U.W. Hella
Date: 1936

When attempts to locate a well in the picnic area were unsuccessful, a 10,000-gallon tank was built to store water from the well in the CCC camp. The tank was installed in 1935 on the highest point adjacent to the picnic area. To make the tank more attractive and to keep it cool, a tower-like structure of red and blue granite was built to encase it in 1936. The tower is 25' high and 17' in diameter. Its roof is supported by log rafters, covered originally by heavy shakes.

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Click to see larger image of Kitchen Shelter Kitchen Shelter
Builder: CCC
Architect: Edward W. Barber
Date: 1935 & 1939

The Kitchen Shelter consists of a 50' x 28' shelter area and a 27' x 11'6" projection for the kitchen that form a T-shaped structure. The two spaces are separated at the intersection of the T by a massive fireplace. The building is constructed of colorful red and blue granite and is covered by a gabled roof.

Originally, the shelter could be entered through a 27' entrance on the east facade or through 13' entrances on the north and south facades. These openings were defined by paired 10" log posts with brackets. However, due to the prevailing winds and changeable weather conditions from nearby Lake Superior, the openings were infilled in 1939. Stone piers, horizontal and vertical log work, and glazed doors and casements were used for the infilling. The segmentally arched 9' opening to the kitchen was not altered, but wooden shutters for the openings in the sidewalls were constructed. Although a battery of seven cast iron cook stoves has been removed from the kitchen, sinks and counters supported by log posts still remain. Construction of the Kitchen Shelter required 3,228 working days and cost $2,049.72.

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Click to see larger image of Refectory Refectory
Builder: CCC
Architect: Edward W. Barber
Date: 1935-36

The Refectory is located on a prominent site on the right bank of the Gooseberry River, overlooking Lake Superior. When the Refectory was completed in 1936, it consisted of a T-shaped building with a concession, storage room, and restrooms in the leg of the T and a partially enclosed shelter in the top of the T. The shelter is constructed entirely of red and blue granite. The concession is constructed of stone to the sill level and logs with saddle-notched corners above. The shelter also contains a massive stone fireplace. The shelter is 25' x 33', while the concession is 29' x 20'.

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Click to see larger image of Picnic Tables Picnic Tables
Builder: CCC
Architect: National Park Services
Date: 1935

Thirty Picnic Tables were constructed in the park. Three are near the Kitchen Shelter, seven are at the Gooseberry River picnic grounds, and twenty are located at the main picnic area on Lake Superior. The tables feature granite side supports with split log seats and table tops. The original logs have been replaced.

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