The 81-year-old Island Ford Lodge in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Rustic-style lodge of stone and logs at 1978 Island Ford Parkway in Sandy Springs was built in 1935 by Atlanta attorney Samuel Hewett. Today, it serves as the National Park Services’ headquarters for the National Recreation Area and includes public exhibits.

Island Ford Lodge in a photo from its National Register of Historic Places application.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which processes National Register listing applications in the state, called the lodge “an excellent and rare example of a Rustic-style building in Georgia” in a press release. The property is automatically also on the state historic property register. It joined the National Register on Nov. 4.

The National Register listing gives the building official recognition as a historic resource and eligibility for rehabilitation grants and tax credits, but does not prevent any changes to the structure. The Park Service administers the National Register program. DNR officials said the National Park Service is required by federal law to document all of its historic resources, but could not explain why the National Register listing was sought at this time. The National Park Service office in Atlanta could not immediately comment.

The National Register listing also covers three other structures built by Hewett in 1945: a barbecue pavilion, a spring house and a retaining wall. Several other buildings and structures added in later decades are not included.

According to DNR, the lodge was built with cypress logs from the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia. Hewett sold the property to the Buckhead Century Club in 1950 for use as a clubhouse. After several years, the club sold the property to the Atlanta Baptist Association, which used the property for retreats. The lodge became the Park Service headquarters after President Jimmy Carter designated a long stretch of the river as a National Recreation Area in 1978.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.