Table Rock State Park is one of 16 SC State Parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its presence is very evident throughout the park. I’ve always been interested in the history of the CCC and enjoy seeing their handiwork in so many of the state parks I visit, particularly the way the style always blends so seamlessly with the native surroundings and that only local material is used in all aspects of construction.
The gorgeous Table Rock Lodge is a prime example of this kind of architecture. From the information sign:
A CCC Classic: Young men determined to escape economic hardship built this lodge from 1937-1940. They were enrolees in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s programs to battle the Great Depression.
The CCC provided men the immediate assistance of food, training and much-needed income. It also offered long-term dividends: CCC constructed parks, roads and bridges, created infrastructure and recreational opportunities that still benefit our country.
Like most CCC buildings the Table Rock Lodge features local rock and timber. Not only were these materials inexpensive and locally accessible, they also contribute to a style that complements natural surroundings. This lodge, fully restored in 2008, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
When you can tear yourself away from the commanding view of Table Rock, the lodge interior features a 72-seat dining room and catering kitchen on the lower level.
The building can be rented for meetings, weddings, reunions and other gatherings. The enclosed back porch above this outdoor patio is lined with cozy rocking chairs inviting you to sit a spell and just relax.
I was lucky the weekend I was there, they were holding one of their monthly Music On The Mountain Bluegrass Jam Sessions and it sure was the perfect setting for this fun event!
The rain we had that day didn’t detract from the music and as things started clearing up, the low hanging clouds on the mountain made the view even more interesting.
Speaking of views of the mountain, one of the best ones of Table Rock is found on Table Rock State Park Road which runs off of S.C. Hwy. 11, and the road where the Lodge is located. The State Park Road is about 3 miles in length and runs between the East Gate and West Gate entrances to the state park.
Table Rock Overlook is the closest view of the mountain that you can get from your car.
I stood here and contemplated doing the Table Rock Trail to the top of the mountain because I’d heard the views are incredible. But I figured 6.8 miles round trip on a trail rated strenuous didn’t really sound like fun to me based on prior hiking experience. I really wanted to see the rain shelter built by the CCC on the Table Rock Trail, about 1.6 miles up that trail, but after I went about a mile, I found the constant uphill climb to be too much, so I turned around. See my page here on that trek. Here’s some info I found on Table Rock Trail and others on Hiking the Carolinas.
Cabin #5 – a 2 bedroom
There are a total of 16 cabins – some 1, 2 and 3 bedroom.
It is one of the most requested cabins and this view of Table Rock explains enough about that.
Earlier when I was talking with Curtis in Central Maintenance, he told me about the park being in the process of renovating some of the cabins and replacing some of the decomposed logs. I was surprised but pleased to hear that the replacement logs also had to be hand hewn from park trees just as it had been done by the CCC originally in the 1930’s – no chainsaws allowed for this. That kind of dedication to preserving the special heritage of this area is impressive to me.
When I was driving down the road later, I saw some guys working on one and stopped to take some pictures. I lucked out and met Robert Hammond, who is the Chief of Central Maintenance and Construction for the entire park service. He showed me some of the logs and boards that were replaced and how you can see the hatchet marks on them.
He explained that their intent was to match the historic aspects of the cabins and his team goes all over the state doing this kind of historic preservation and maintenance. It was so interesting to talk to him as it was obvious he loves what he does and is dedicated to doing it right for posterity.
He showed me the interior of Cabin 5 and told me how much care is taken even with the interior furnishings to match the style and feel of the original.
Waking up to a view of Table Rock would make for a good morning for sure.
Robert also shared this picture with me of them hewing logs for the cabins, as well as re-shingling the CCC-built rain shelter along the Table Rock Trail. This structure is about 1.6 miles up that trail on the way to the top of Table Rock, and I really wanted to make it up there, but the constant uphill climb was just too much for me, unfortunately.
More info: CCC History in SC State Parks
All Malia’s Miles pages on Table Rock State Park: