State Game Lodge, Custer State Park
State Game Lodge, Custer State Park, South Dakota.
July 24, 2006
by Jess Stryker
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We were driving through Custer State Park in South Dakota when I noticed the architecture of this lodge and was intrigued by it. We turned around and went back for a closer look. We didn't have a reservation, however the staff was gracious and allowed us to look around and take some pictures. I wish I had known about it before our trip as I would have liked to have stayed here!
The lodge was built between 1919-1922 by Cecil C. (C.C.) Gideon. It served as the summer white house for Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower also was a guest in 1953. In addition to the main lodge building there are modern motel wings and cabins. Gideon designed and built many local structures in the Black Hills, including the famous pig-tail bridges on Iron Mountain Road. For photos and a video of Iron Mountain Road, see my Mt. Rushmore page: click here.
View from the street. The more modern style motel wings were added later. (They need an irrigation system that doesn't involve dragging around hoses!)
Front view with flagpole.
Front entry staircase stonework detail.
National Register of Historic Places plague and building description which states:
"The State Game Lodge was built by
CECIL C. GIDEON, Contractor-Builder in
A.R. Van Dyck - Architect
Monroe Nystrom - Stonemason
All three were from the Minneapolis area. Gideon
and his wife Elma Mary were the genial hosts with
their "Western Hospitality" for 27 years, including
the Presidential visit of the Coolidges. Gideon
was chosen personal guide and companion for the
President while he was here."
Main staircase, viewed from the main door to the lodge. The registration desk is to the right.
Down the hall directly ahead is the dining room and beyond the dining room.
If you walk through the dining room you come to another stairway that leads down to the gift shop.
Immediately to the left of where this photo was taken is the bar and lounge.
To the right is the main public room.
The main public room with fireplace. This photo was taken looking to the right just inside the front door.
Fireplace rockwork in the bar.
This lounge area appears to me to be a later addition, although the staff wasn't able to confirm that for me.
Detail of rock wall between the bar and lounge.
The Pheasant Dining Room still serves "game" dishes as well as more traditional fare.
Detail of one of the light fixtures in the dining room.
The original telephone switchboard is on display outside the door to the gift shop.
Upstairs hallway and rooms. Stairs are to the left.
Upstairs hallway looking the opposite direction of the photo above. Stairs are to the right next to Julie.
The lodge has a third floor with guest rooms, however it is not currently open to the public due to non-compliance with emergency exit requirements. The State has proposed retrofits to the lodge will provide sufficient emergency exits to allow the third floor to be reopened in the future.
Note: Our visit to the State Game Lodge was unplanned and way too brief. I wish we had more time to explore it and get more details and photos, similar to what I have done for some of the other lodges on this website. I realize that some of the information or descriptions above may not be totally accurate. Please, if you have additional information or corrections, send me an email with the information. Thank you very much!
For reservations or more information on booking a room at the State Game Lodge, call 888-875-0001, or see the Custer State Park Resort website at http://www.custerresorts.com/.
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