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North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department

Fireplace at Turtle River

Turtle River

Once you find this location, you will note a concrete outline of the footings of a building. This is the outline of the original location of the now reconstructed Woodland Lodge you see nearby here at Turtle River State Park.

The Woodland Lodge was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who were responsible for most of the park’s original development from approximately 1935-1941. The Lodge itself was completed in 1941 in the location of this existing fireplace.

On June 12, 2000, the Turtle River State Park received more than 17” of rain and up to 21” in other parts of the watershed to the west! This amount of water, all coming at once, naturally overwhelmed all of the flood control structures on the Turtle River and completely inundated areas within 100 yards or so of the river.

One of the most drastic losses was the Woodland Lodge which, being so close to the river, was nearly damaged beyond repair. The structure was integral to the park and was historic, having been constructed by the CCC. Therefore, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State Historical Society and the ND Parks & Recreation Department collaborated to preserve as much of this facility as possible, through a “historic reconstruction”.

In 2002, the existing site of the Woodland Lodge was chosen as it would provide nearly six additional feet of elevation from the existing flood plain and provide some additional protection should a similar incident occur in the future. The front portion (kitchen, foyer, & restroom spaces) were moved as one structure, set on the new foundation and totally remodeled. The entire back of the building (the main hall) was deconstructed by the fall of 2000, board by board, numbered and stored until the reconstruction plans could be developed. It was then re-assembled. The interior roof beams and decking, knotty pine walls, main hall light fixtures and exterior siding are all original to the building. The new construction consisted of new flooring, windows and doors. In addition, the reconstruction provided the opportunity to significantly upgrade the kitchen and restroom spaces andheating and air-conditioning made the existing Woodland Lodge available for rent, year-round!

The fireplace you found was constructed of hand laid granite stone. It was unable to be moved as a part of the reconstruction due to its weight during the move. This structure weighs in excess of 30 tons! As a result, the decision was made to leave it in place as a tribute to the original construction and location. It has become a popular setting for the many wedding ceremonies hosted at the Woodland Lodge today. The existing Lodge fireplace granite was quarried from the very same Minnesota quarry that the original stone was sourced, during the 1930s.

Turtle River State Park is located 22 miles west of Grand Forks, ND on Highway 2.