Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chippewa National Forest HQ, Cass Lake, Minnesota

The headquarters for the Forestry Service in the Chippewa National Forest is located in a CCC building at Cass Lake, Minnesota. It was built in 1935 using huge red pine logs, slotted together in the Finnish style using notches and grooves.

Stonework is evident in the foundation, which utilizes native fieldstone embedded in concrete. But the most impressive feature is the massive fireplace near the building's entrance (top photo). Glacial boulders were split, and the two halves situated opposite one another on each side of the fireplace to yield an impressive and pleasing symmetry (most evident near the keystone at the top of the arch in the second photo). The stones are glacially-deposited local material, probably largely granite; more than 265 tons of them were used to create the massive 50-foot-high stucture. Where the chimney rises through the second floor of the building (third photo), I believe the figure of an angel was intentionally created by the stonemasons.

Cass Lake is situated between Leech Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish in north-central Minnesota. This building is a working office, but it is open to the public during the workday, and a variety of educational materials and displays are available for viewing.

Technical note: Photography was difficult on the day I visited, because the mix of natural light from the windows and the artificial light from incandescent bulbs made the selection of exposure and light balance particularly complex. The colors displayed above are therefore not quite true; I probably should retake the pix on a cloudy day.

1 comment:

  1. My grandpa was in the CCC in 1933/1934 company 705, Pike Bay, MN; the company that built the building in your pictures. I don't know if he actually worked on the building. My dad told me that grandpa planted trees, LOTS of trees. Thanks for sharing the pictures, I've never been there.

    Elbow Lake, Minnesota