Historic CCC Fisherman’s Barrack Restored To Create Two Rustic, Studio Duplex Cabins at Lake Catherine State Park

Article follows the photos:
Historic CCC Fisherman's Barrack at Lake Catherine State Park offers a unique cabin experience.
Historic CCC Fisherman's Barrack at Lake Catherine State Park offers a unique cabin experience.
The park's historic CCC barrack now features two, rustic studio cabins overlooking Lake Catherine.
The park's historic CCC barrack now features two, rustic studio cabins overlooking Lake Catherine.
The historic barrack's two studio cabins are on the shore of Lake Catherine's Slunger Bay.
The historic barrack's two studio cabins are on the shore of Lake Catherine's Slunger Bay.
Each studio cabin in the restored barrack has a kitchenette and screened porch overlooking the lake.
Each studio cabin in the restored barrack has a kitchenette and screened porch overlooking the lake.
For Immediate Release

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.--Lake Catherine State Park was one of the first six state parks constructed in Arkansas, and like the other five, was built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the close to his heart civilian “Tree Army” of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The CCC/Rustic-style facilities at these parks formed the backbone for all future development within Arkansas’s state park system. The parks endure as a legacy to the craftsmanship and conservation achievements of the CCC. Lake Catherine State Park, in the Ouachita Mountains on the shores of Lake Catherine, was constructed by the men of CCC Company #3777, which operated there from 1937 until 1942. As part of the CCC master plan for the park, a fishing village was designed that included two Fisherman’s Barracks. One was lost to fire in 1948, but the other barrack has stood through time in its peaceful setting on the lakeshore overlooking Slunger Bay. This barrack, with its long porch overlooking the water, has been restored and is now available for rent as rustic studio duplex cabins #15 and #16, according to Park Superintendent Richard Boyes.

The structure was originally designed as a tri-plex cabin offering basic sleeping accommodations for guests, with communal restroom facilities provided in a nearby structure. Now renovated into a duplex facility, each studio cabin features a seating area, efficiency kitchen, dining counter, queen size sleeping accommodations, and private bathroom. Each offers an outdoor elevated picnic area with table and grill.

Though updates have been made to the facilities to provide modern comforts for guests, such as flat panel television, microwave, mini fridge, range and oven, the original natural setting and fundamental characteristics of the barrack remain. Log rafters, interior siding, and the enclosed screen porch have all been restored to reflect their original conditions and windows have been installed back to their original locations. The wooded setting is accessible only by footpath. Forty-six steps lead down to the cabins from their parking area.

Boyes said the park architecture of the building fits naturally into the lakeshore setting that was chosen as its site. It is a rectangular wood-framed structure with straight edge horizontal siding. “The barrack’s lakeside, screened-in porch sits on treated pine pilings over Lake Catherine at the mouth of Slunger Creek. The porch is the perfect place to enjoy the scenery, and the peace and quiet right there at the water’s edge.” He noted that guests will have a birds-eye view of Slunger Bay. “It will be a special place to enjoy the seasonal natural beauty here on Lake Catherine. And, the year-round wildlife viewing and bird-watching will be excellent,” said Boyes.

He noted that each cabin can accommodate two persons and rents for $79 per night. Reservations may be made online at ArkansasStateParks.com or by calling the park at 1-800-264-2422.

The $304,208 project was funded by grant funds from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. The contractor was Goslee Construction Corporation of Hot Springs. The design consultant was Taylor-Kempkes, Architects P.A. of Hot Springs.

Renovation efforts for restoring this historic CCC structure began with a detailed Historic Structures Report which was completed in 2006. This document described the context and significance of the structure along with an overall assessment of the building’s conditions and usage. The barrack was one of the original rustic-style structures designed by the National Park Service as a part of the original State Park Commission Fishing Village Plot Plan. By 1938 this structure, along with another barrack and their commissary, had been constructed by CCC Co. #3777. Other rustic-style structures would also be built including a lodge, which no longer stands, and multiple cabins.

According to the Report, at the time this fishing barrack was built, the area was still a remote wilderness, with excellent fishing and an abundance of game and wildlife. Heavily wooded, the site was considered to be one of the state’s most beautiful natural areas, with possibly the state’s best fishing.

Lake Catherine State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. On the shores of 1,940-acre Lake Catherine, one of the five popular Diamond Lakes in the Hot Springs area, the park offers a wide range of outdoor recreational choices including fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking, and hiking. Park interpreters offer guided hikes, boat tours and other programs. During summer months, guided horseback trail rides are also offered at the park.

Facilities include the park’s 70 campsites, 20 full-service cabins, picnic sites, a pavilion, marina with boat rentals, launch ramp, hiking trails, a swimming area, playground, nature center, and visitor center with gifts and supplies for sale. Camping choices also include the park’s Rent-A-Camp and new Rent-A-Yurt. Nineteen park cabins feature one-bedroom each. The park’s two-bedroom cabin is a barrier-free design with a large stone patio and access to the water including its own private, barrier-free fishing pier. Lake Catherine State Park is located near Hot Springs and Malvern. From I-30, take Exit #97 at Malvern and go 12 miles north on Ark. 171 to the park.

For further information, contact: Richard Boyes, park superintendent, Lake Catherine State Park, 1200 Catherine Park Road, Hot Springs, AR 71913. Phone: 501-844-4176. E-mail: richard.boyes@arkansas.gov.

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