Thursday, July 30, 2009

Norway Beach Visitor Center, Chippewa NF, Minnesota

The Chippewa National Forest in north-central Minnesota has several dozen campgrounds. There is a visitor center at the Norway Beach site at Cass Lake which has an impressive fireplace from the CCC era.

The young men who enrolled in the CCC entered as unskilled workers. The CCC then hired "local experienced men" to train CCC participants in forestry skills, stonework, ironwork, carpentry, cooking and the other activities necessary for completion of the projects.

The design and creation of the Norway Beach fireplace was credited to a Mr. Larry Johnson, a master mason from the Cass Lake area. He selected and split granite boulders obtained from a local quarry at Benedict, Minnesota. With the aid of the CCC workers, the fireplace was constructed between 1936 and 1938.

The upper photo shows how the split stones were arranged symmetrically to create design elements (in this case a stone "flower"). The lower photo shows the stack of the fireplace with an indenture containing stones arranged in a cross. Above that are other arrangement intended to represent an Indian headdress and the Great Spirit.

(These photos are of suboptimal quality and will need to be reshot.)


  1. Oh, please revive this blog... I love CCC works! (And I'm also addicted to your stuff on TYWKIWDBI.)

  2. Hannah, I do have more posts planned. Should have the pix ready re Minnehaha Falls soon...

  3. Wonderful topic for a blog. I think it's great. I'll add a link to my CCC Resource Page and Forest Army page so that others might enjoy this too. I've got images of CCC stonework in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Kentucky and South Dakota if you'd like to use them.

  4. Wow, that's my Grandpa's work there!