Log Lodge- Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
The Log Lodge at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from pine and white oak logs harvested on-site. Construction of the lodge was started in 1934 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), but little advanced when work halted. It was completed in 1937 by 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.” (USDA website)
“[…] 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. The renovation of the Log Lodge was coordinated by the former Engineering and Planning Section, predecessor of the Engineering and Construction Branch at BARC, beginning October 2000. The 64-year-old wooden building was showing signs of weather and insect damage in the form of both structural and cosmetic damage.” (USDA website)
The Log Lodge was used for recreation by the CCC. After 1942, it became a cafeteria for the research station, which it remained until 1985. It was later renovated to restore the original appearance and has since been used as the visitor’s center for the Agricultural Research Station.
The featured 1934 architectural plans (lower right corner) show that the building was constructed for the Animal Husbandry Division of the USDA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
Additional facts conveyed by Jay H. Green, Visitor Programs, Engagement & Outreach Activities, USDA – ARS – Northeast Area/ BARC:
(1) The side room with table (not from FDR-era), now called the ‘Roosevelt Room’, was used by FDR to play cards.
(2) The pond adjacent to the Lodge was a mid-19th Century iron ore mine. The excavation at the site yielded dinosaur bones now at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
(3) The building was formerly used as a meeting place for the CCC Alumni group in the area.
Project originally submitted by Thomas Graves on November 6, 2014.
Additional contributions by Edward R. Landa.
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