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Shelter Pavilion at Scenic State Park Scenic State Park
National Register Listing:
June 1992

Scenic State Park CCC/Rustic Style historic resources are located in two historic districts that include a public use area and service yard. The park contains ten contributing buildings and structures built among stands of virgin Norway and white pine on the shores of Coon and Sandwick Lakes. Architects for the park buildings were from the National Park Service.

The park includes these resources:

Public Use Area
Shelter Pavilion
Naturalist's Cabin
Comfort Station
Shelter & Latrine
Water Tower
Stone Steps
Service Yard
Custodian's Cabin
Equipment Building
Tool & Equipment Building
Ice and Wood House

Historical Significance

Scenic State Park was the first in the state to provide a complete range of recreational facilities developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park’s Rustic Style buildings represent a remarkable collection of log structures that received considerable acclaim from the National Park Service. A 1935 Park Service publication describing the structures in Scenic State Park commented, "An imagined ideal park structure...would assuredly specify logs and log construction from Minnesota."

The park contains the only completely log-constructed residence in the state park system as well as the state's only log-constructed service buildings. The Shelter Pavilion is exceptionally significant for its intact collection of Rustic Style furniture and decorative artwork constructed by a CCC camp. The building contains the best-developed interior in the state park system and retains an interior space that has remained virtually unchanged since its construction. (See historic view of Shelter Pavilion's interior.)

The landscape design for the park is significant as one of the most thorough and extensive designs executed by the landscape architects of the National Park Service.

Park History

Scenic State Park consisted of 2,121 acres when the land was first acquired in 1921. Large-scale development began in 1933, when CCC Camp SP-3 Company 1722 was assigned to the park. The camp was occupied on June 21, 1933 and was the first CCC state park camp to begin operation in the state. A temporary tent camp was established south of the park until a permanent facility could be constructed on Lake of the Isles.

After just 18 months of the camp's operation, the Department of Conservation reported, "The ECW camp has constructed 1.3 miles of telephone lines, 12 miles of fire breaks, 6 miles of road improvement and construction, 7 miles of roadside clearing and 16 miles of foot trails. Eight buildings including shelter pavilion, garage, warehouse, ice house and trail shelters have been erected. Fire hazard reduction has been extended to 295 acres, 6 miles of trail side have been cleared and forest improvement extended to 84 acres. Sixteen acres have been planted to trees, blister rust control extended to 1,327 acres and 35 acres have been landscaped. Bank protection has been carried on to the extent of 1,500 square yards and the equivalent of 1,147 man-days spent on forest fire fighting...The work already completed by this camp has made this park the most ideal of any now under the control of the Conservation Commission."

The CCC camp was terminated in January 1936, after development had been nearly completed. The nearby Link Lake forestry CCC camp completed several unfinished projects.

For current information about Scenic State Park, go to the DNR website.