Interstate Park, noted for its geological wonders, was Wisconsin’s first state park. The nineteenth-century movement to establish state and national parks focused on preserving unusual geological formations and spectacular scenery. This area’s rock formations and the sheer rock walls that rise for two hundred feet above the roaring St. Croix River attracted attention early. But efforts to develop the park did not begin until the 1930s, when the CCC constructed facilities. The CCC used the reddish basalt found in the cliffs and the principles of the Craftsman style in a manner known as “National Park Service Rustic.” Typical is the double shelter located in the lower meadow, with massive stone walls, exposed log trusses, and brackets. The bathhouse in the middle of the park, on Lake O’ the Dalles, is another excellent expression of Rustic architecture. A side-gabled roof shelters random-coursed stone walls, and paired brackets accentuate a central open passage. This breezeway divides concession and storage spaces from the dressing rooms, indicated by a row of windows. Behind the bathhouse, the stone retaining walls and stairs look almost as though nature carved them into the hill.
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Interstate State Park
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