An iconic lodge seated in the heart of Lake of the Ozarks State Park has come back to life.
Camp Pin Oak Lodge, built more than 70 years ago, burned to the ground Sept. 3, 2010, after being struck by lightning. A week later, Gov. Jay Nixon pledged resources to rebuild the 3,800-square foot structure.
Years later, Nixon celebrated the lodge's reopening.
“Today, we are celebrating the reopening of Camp Pin Oak Lodge as a place for Missouri families and young people to enjoy the outdoors and create lasting memories,” Gov. Nixon said at a ribbon cutting held on Friday, Oct. 11. “One week after the fire which struck this camp, I stood in the shell of this iconic building and pledged to return it to its original grandeur. Today, thanks to collaboration and partnership throughout state government and with our education partners, we can look forward to 70 more years of camping, adventure and the great outdoors at Camp Pin Oak.”
State Fair Community College joined Nixon in restoring the iconic structure. The construction class provided 16 students who earned about 1,000 hours of hands-on experience and up to 40 college credit hours toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in construction.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development authorized a Community Development Block Grant of $1.4 million to fund the project.
Camp Pin Oak was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1934 and 1938. The lodge was considered one of the finest examples of CCC buildings throughout state park system because of its rustic architecture and craftsmanship. The lodge featured a stone foundation, large stone fireplaces, a rustic front porch and light fixtures with the oak leaf motif.
A state architect was used to design the rebuild as closely to the original structure as possible. The massive chimneys were all that was left standing after the fire, and the hope was to build the new structure with the chimneys intact. Because of their damaged condition, they could not be used but each stone was carefully measured so new stones could be duplicated. Most of the exterior fireplace stones were left intact.
Replacing the pinewood floor has been one of the challenges. The original floor was cut from long leaf heart pine, and reclaimed long leaf heart pine cut from trees 150 years ago was secured for the new floor.
In sifting through the post-fire rubble, some remnants were discovered including burned silverware. These and other items will be displayed in a kiosk in the lodge.
Camp Pin Oak has been used by many organized youth groups, including the Girl Scouts, since 1938. Today, many church groups, church youth groups, the Future Farmers of America, and other groups bring youth from all over Missouri — and even internationally — to use the camp. Many families also use Camp Pin Oak as a site for reunions and gatherings.
Page 2 of 2 - The finished Camp Pin Oak Lodge was built with careful attention to historical accuracy in the same location and approximate size of the original structure. Interior and exterior features were designed to match the originals. Historic features of the building include salvaged stones in the rebuilt fireplaces and foundation, and the use of a special mortar mix used to replicate the original. All of the posts, beams and haunches on the exterior of the building came from downed timber salvaged following a storm at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park in St. Louis County. Tables and benches in the building were replicated to match the originals and were also built with salvaged timber.
The rebuilt lodge now includes a modern kitchen, laundry and accessible restrooms. The hall accommodates 135 people, is fully accessible and is centrally heated and cooled.
For information about state parks and historic sites and the Camp Pin Oak Group Camp, visit MO.gov.