Preservation experts will soon begin restoring the historic community kitchen built by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Southern Oregon’s Hebo Lake Campground.
The log structure was built in the mid-1930s with two wood-fired stoves and a stone chimney.
The CCC built the kitchen along with the surrounding campground and the dam that created the lake itself, according to Siuslaw National Forest archaeologist Kevin Bruce. But after 80 years, it’s fallen into disrepair.
“It’s really one of the last structures of that period we have left on the forest, but it’s in pretty poor condition,” he said. “We want to protect it. Really, the campsite is a special place. There are a number of folks who have used it for generations, and this is kind of one of the last links of that original Civilian Conservation Corps construction and the present.”
The national forest is teaming up with a Colorado-based historic preservation group called HistoriCorps to do the work. It’s the national organization’s first such project in the Pacific Northwest.
Volunteers with the U.S. Forest Service Passport in Time program will assist with the restoration, which is set to begin Aug. 14. It will include replacing log posts and roof shakes and rehabilitating the stone floor, chimney, and stoves.
Bruce said the structure will soon become unsafe if left untouched.
“The floor’s pretty uneven, and on the shelter itself there’s wood damage and such,” he said. “We want to be able to repair it, make it safer and actually have it looking pretty much like it did in the 1930s.”
However, Bruce noted, the stoves will not be functional as they were originally. Visitors will be able to continue using the kitchen as a picnic shelter when the restoration is complete.
Project volunteers will be camping at the site while the work is taking place over the next month, so there will be fewer campsites available. HistoriCorps is accepting volunteers for the last phase of the project.