We've all been hearing comparisons lately to the Great
Depression. Here's an adventure packed with teachable moments about
the can-do spirit of that historic time.
During the darkest days of the Depression, President Franklin
Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Its
mission: Put young men to work saving America's natural resources.
It employed nearly 3.5 million people and completed hundreds of
Dubbed Roosevelt's Tree Army because it planted more than 2.5
billion trees throughout the country, the CCC also built four
beautiful lodges in Illinois state parks. These lodges are
affordable gems that can be the highlight of your next family
Starved Rock Lodge is closest to home, an hour and a half
southwest of Chicago. The magnificent 70-room lodge, situated high
on a bluff, is a sight to behold with massive stone fireplaces and
aged stone walls. After exploring the surrounding canyons and
waterfalls, you can relax in the hot tub, sauna or the indoor
Two hours west of Chicago, in the scenic Rock River Valley, is
the White Pines Inn. You can stay in one of the rustic cabins
surrounded by the natural beauty of White Pines Forest State Park
and enjoy dinner in the White Pines Inn restaurant. You might even
want to stay for the popular dinner theater.
Along the Great River Road in southwestern Illinois is the Pere
Marquette Lodge. It's one of the best places in the United States
to spot eagles in their natural habitat. Travel to southern
Illinois' Shawnee National Forest and you'll find an exquisite
stone and timber lodge with a marvelous great-room lobby. Like all
Illinois state park lodges, Giant City Lodge was built of local
materials. Architects here used stone from the enormous Shawnee
sandstone bluffs and white oak timber. An outdoor pool makes Giant
City Lodge a perfect escape.
• Giant City Lodge
• Starved Rock Lodge
• Pere Marquette Lodge
• White Pines Inn
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