Mid-Century State Park Goodness

As much as I love my state parks today (see my prior post for recent pics), they were even lovelier in the 30's, 40's and 50's. These images of Cumberland Mountain State Park make me long for a different time. All of the images have some great details - be sure to enlarge so you can soak it all in. The big stone house next to the dam was built by the CCC, and I believe that this picture was taken during park construction in the late 1930's. Its original purpose was to serve as a mill for the New Deal "Homestead" community in which the park is located. It was never used as a mill, but the name "Mill House" stuck. I've only stayed in the Mill House once. The building really needs some work, but is still for rent, and sleeps 16. Such a cool old building, and other than a 1970's kitchen remodel, it is fairly original.
Picnicking on the peninsula. The structure of these tables is made from pipe, and although the tops have been replaced, the bases are original and are still in the same spots.
Lounging on the terrace, overlooking the swim beach on Byrd Lake. The beach is no longer there (Some bureaucrat decided a pool was better than a beach. Rubbish.) The backs of the metal patio chairs have hearts on them. Hearts! I think that pretty much sums up my entire feeling about this scene.
The old bath house. This now-dilapidated structure was pictured in my prior post. There are holes in the roof, broken windows, trees growing inches from the walls. The building is all boarded up. Very sad.
One of the most awesome pictures ever. Check out the olympic calibur springboard diver in mid-air. Beach babes, beach balls, and lifeguards in boats!
The old restaurant, since torn down (or possibly burned down) and rebuilt. A round dining room with wood ceiling and orb lights. Dreamy. Just wait, it gets better...
'Coon Hollow stands all by itself at the end of a long road, 1/2 mile up from the other cabins. This was originally a Homestead house that at some point was donated to the park. I love staying in this place, with its wood paneled walls, floors, and ceilings.
An original "rustic" 1 bedroom cabin, built in the late 1930's.
The 1 bedroom "rustics" still have screened porches and have maintained the original floor plans.
Interior shot of a 1 bedroom "rustic". The ceilings are now sheetrocked, the light fixtures were updated with wagon wheel fixtures in the 50's, and the bedspreads and drapes are now unattractive aztec-patterned fabric. The cabins still have the wood paneling and floors, and use the same bed and the little bench at the foot of the bed.
There is now a door between the tiny bedroom and large living room, and the bathrooms were completely remodeled in the early 80's for function vs. aesthetics. Think plastic shower stalls and dark wood vanities.
The kitchens have also been remodeled and now have sheet vinyl floors and early 80's cabinets. (upper is still an open cabinet)
Several more cabins were built in the 1950's, and while the exteriors are not a charming as the original "rustics", the interiors were mid-century fabulous. The screened porches on the backs of the cabins are now second bedrooms. The renovations were done well, and the layout doesn't look like it was altered when you're inside the cabin.
I promised you mid-century interior goodness, and here it begins! The living room is still arranged like this. Unfortunately, the black and white linoleum floors were replaced with similar high quality neutral colored linoleum squares. We rented this cabin (and I do believe it was the one pictured here) several years ago during a severe record-breaking cold snap. About 6 inches of snow fell, the temp dropped to -11 degrees F, and even with a fire, central heat and air, and all of the old wall heaters going, we couldn't get the temp in the cabin above 60 degrees F. The bedrooms were too cold, so we pushed the twin beds together in front of the fireplace and bundled up with tons of blankets. The cabin was built on a slab, and of course the pipes, being in the ceiling, froze. We went for a long drive and several hikes around the Cumberland Plateau, and while the rangers had the big heaters going to thaw out the pipes, they managed to flood the cabin with an inch of water. The weekend was quite an adventure, and still one of my favorite weekends in my entire life.
One of three "Timberlodges". The exteriors of these look a bit more like log cabins, and the logs are stained bright red. They are sited on the hill just up from the lake, and each has a deck that runs the length of the back of the cabin.
Although we've stayed at this park about a dozen times, we have never been able to snag a timberlodge. They stay booked constantly. The interiors cannot possibly be as cool as this now...
That lamp, that floor, those drapes...
Love the beds, the table, the lamp...
The beach at night.
I wish I had been able to experience the Cumberland Mountain State Park in all of her 50's grandeur. Happy, yet slightly sad sigh...
Photos courtesy of State of Tennessee Archives.


Little Gray Pixel said...

Looks idyllic.

Torie Jayne said...

Great post! I love all the images, especially the beach babes! Have a sweet day! x

Teresa @ good-grace said...

oh my goodness! This is going to be one of my favorite posts for a very long time to come. These images are absolutely divine! Seriously! It makes me so sad to think how it has changed. ( A POOL instead of a beach? what the hell?) How neat that you can stay in the Mill House. I don't live THAT far away ... this might have to be a future family vacation destination. Lovely!! (definitely tweeting this...)

Hello Lindello said...

This makes me want to revisit my childhood camp. Great pics!

Carol said...

very cool pictures!

drollgirl said...

you have just transported me back in time. i love these images and sure wish i could be there during the time of the photos.

is somebody working on a time machine out there? or a TELEPORTING DEVICE!?!?! come on scientists! get on it!