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Hungry Mother State Park

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1936; many later additions. 2854 Park Blvd.

Nestled in the mountains surrounding a 108-acre placid lake north of Marion, the park was created in 1936 by the National Park Service through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in conjunction with the Virginia Conservation Commission. The park takes its name from the legend of an Indian raid in which a white woman was carried off with her infant. When the infant was discovered alone, supposedly the only words he could speak were “hungry mother.” It is thought that the name and the legend would attract visitors to the park.

The park features a sandy beach, bath-houses, a visitors' center, a restaurant, cabins, and a lodge. Although most are modern facilities, some buildings survive from the CCC era. Among them is the Park Restaurant (1936; 1996 addition), a one-story L-shaped frame structure later connected to a larger two-story frame building. The original structure is covered in unpainted weatherboards and board-and-batten and has a large exterior-end stone chimney and casement windows. The addition, although overwhelming in size, complements the earlier structure in its cladding, rustic-style porches facing the lake, and casement windows. A few of the CCC-constructed log cabins still used as guest accommodations include Cabin 4 (1936), a one-story, round-log structure with saddle-notched corners. Built on a native stone foundation, the rustic building has a gable-roofed porch with round-log columns and railings. Only one of the park's bathhouses (1936) has escaped later alterations or demolition. Located just north of the visitors' center on VA 16, the small one-story board-and-batten structure consists of a hipped-roofed central section flanked by gable-roofed wings, one used by men and the other by women.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Hungry Mother State Park", [Marion, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 462-462.

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