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Jay Cooke 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 The River Inn at Jay Cooke State Park The River Inn
Builder: CCC
Architect: Edward W. Barber
Date: 1940-42


The River Inn, one of the largest buildings constructed in the state park system, has an overall length of 123' and a width of 48'6". The stone structure is considered a combination building, as it contained rest rooms, a shelter, a refectory, a dining room, and kitchen. It was one of the few park buildings in the state with a full-scale restaurant. The 32' x 50' shelter in the center of the building, flanked by rest rooms on the west and by the restaurant on the east, features a massive stone fireplace and a heavy timber truss system.

With the exception of the 1" x 10" rough horizontal boards in the gable ends, the River Inn is constructed entirely of dark, local gabbro. The building is covered by a cross-gable roof. An 11' x 32' entrance porch on the north facade is paved with slate flagging and is covered by a shed roof supported by three round, stone columns, each 3' in diameter. A 16'6" x 70' terrace flanks the south facade along the St. Louis River. The terrace is paved with stone and is defined by a low stone wall. Window openings are all casements, generally with six lights.

The refectory, or concession, was located in the restaurant wing of the building and featured a service window that opened into the shelter. A counter also opened to the exterior on the south facade.

In 1945 a souvenir counter was installed in the dining room and in 1958 the kitchen was repositioned. Major alterations in 1983 removed the kitchen entirely and offices were installed. The dining room and refectory were converted into one large space to house interpretive exhibits. The canopy of the fireplace in the shelter was also completed with the installation of copper panels based on the original plans which had not been executed.

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Click to see larger image of Swinging Bridge at Jay Cooke State Park Swinging Bridge
Builder: CCC
Architect: Oscar Newstrom
Date: l934

The Swinging Bridge is a 200'-long suspension bridge with a 126' span over the St. Louis River. The bridge is supported by two massive pylons consisting of reinforced concrete piers faced with native stone laid in a rustic ashlar design. The suspension cables are anchored in a solid rock ledge on the south side and in concrete anchorage on the north. Stone piers on either side of the bridge support walkways leading to the suspended section. Originally, 8" or 10" peeled cedar logs were used as approach railings and the bridge deck was constructed with 2" white oak flooring laid 1/2" apart.

The bridge was originally 18' above the St. Louis River. However, the bridge deck was raised in 1941 due to a problem with washouts. The bridge was again modified in 1953, when the existing concrete cores of the pylons were extended. This further minimized the possibility of a washout by increasing the distance from the bridge deck to the river. The spalled concrete caps were repaired In 1977.

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Click to see larger image of Water Tower and Latrine at Jay Cooke State Park Water Tower and Latrine
Builder: CCC
Architect: Edward W. Barber
Date: 1934

This building combines a Latrine with a Water Tower attached to the eastern facade. The overall plan is rectangular with dimensions of 42'2" x 17'3". Building materials are 8" or 9" peeled logs with saddle-notched corners and native stone laid in a rough ashlar pattern. The latrine portion of the building is a one-story structure with 18" thick stone walls up to the sill line and logs laid horizontally above. The 5'6" high stone walls are followed by a 4'5" section of logs and the entire latrine is covered by a hip roof. Each of the two principal facades contains two 8-light casement windows. Stone and log screens originally shielded the entrances.

The Water Tower is a one and one-half story structure with a 10' high stone section followed by a 5'6" section constructed of horizontal logs. The tower is capped with a hipped roof. The lower section provides storage space with the water tower located above. The principal facades originally contained 8-light casement windows.

During a 1963 remodeling, the wooden shingles were replaced with asphalt, the doors were replaced, and louvers were installed in place of the tower windows. The log screens were also replaced with vertical boards.

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