Atop Mount Magazine, in the eponymous state park, is a lookout located at the highest point in the state of Arkansas. Long a location for relatively isolated farms and cooling summer resort camps, it had also been the site of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)–built Mount Magazine Lodge, a resort hotel that burned to the ground in 1971. While the surrounding park remained open after this loss, a new lodge building was not opened until 2006, when the current Lodge at Mount Magazine began operation. The lodge is a modernized, somewhat smoother version of the old Mather Lodge (CN6) at Petit Jean State Park. More akin to modern conference centers, as which it also serves, the lodge was carefully located along a ridge atop Mount Magazine. The visitor approaches the lodge laterally, after a series of steep and harrowing hairpin turns up the mountain; arrival is below the level of the adjoining roadway. The lodge is built upon a battered stone base and, like the Mather Lodge, rises up in a clapboard-sided block. The entrance to the lodge is theatrical: a large (mechanical) waterfall sits across from glassy automated doors, all beneath a rustic log-outfitted porte-cochere, indicators of the rather plush hotel facilities within. The interior is also outfitted in the now-expected Arkansas log lodge style, but here it is big scaled and bold, more commercial in feel. A lounge space directly across from the entrance gives travelers their first glimpse of the scenery beyond. The most impressive interior space is the dining room, its large, tall fireplace located opposite a tall, glassy picture window. Log columns, beams, and trusses, though seeming a bit too tall and a bit too thin, nonetheless give the space an exhilarating feel. The major triumph of this building is the location of all major spaces and guest rooms along a single exposure, allowing all visitors to have truly spectacular, unobstructed views to the Petit Jean valley below. Unlike the Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park, there are no dark, sacred-feeling spaces here; all is open and bright, but without subtlety. Accompanying the lodge is a series of cottage-style cabins, each a smaller, matching version of the larger lodge structure. Here, stone piers support ample porches, and steeply pitched roofs suggest the comfortable spaces within.
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The Lodge at Mount Magazine
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