Log Cabin Inn:
Cook Forest’s environmental learning center is a large log building built in 1934 by the CCC. It is at one end of Longfellow trailand contains a variety of displays, taxidermy animals and logging tools from early lumbering days.
©2009 – Kevin Kaltenbaugh
On March 31, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The purpose of the CCC was to provide employment and restore our nation’s natural resources.
In 1934, CCC Camp SP-2 was built in the present-day River Cabins area along River Road. A typical CCC camp had barracks, a mess hall, bathhouses, and other structures. This camp housed 200 enrollees and staff until 1937 when it closed, and the buildings were razed and used to construct CCC Camp SP-6 at Racoon Creek State Park in Beaver County.
A large wayside intercepts CCC Camp SP-2 and is where the camp once stood within the River Picnic area.
Work of the CCC in Cook Forest Still remains. Indian and River cabins were built, trails and roads constructed and forest resources preserved by these hard working men.
During the nine years of existence, the CCC nationwide employed three million young men and produced conservation work valued at over $1.5 billion!
Sawmill Historical Room:
Built in 1949, this electric powered mill operated for a little over one year to saw salvage cut timber from the park. Most of the earlier mills were water driven and found along Tom’s Run. Located next to the swimming pool, the Sawmill houses displays and a gift shop for a local arts and craft organization. Offers fascinating displays of logging and rafting tools, models, and other artifacts.
Cook Forest Fire Tower/Seneca Point Overlook:
The 87.5-foot fire tower built in 1929 gave firefighters a 15-20 mile view of the area. The tower retired from service in 1966.
Periodically, the box on the top of the tower is open during interpretive programs. Visitors can park their cars and walk a short distance to Seneca Point Overlook and the firetower for a magnificent view of the Clarion River valley from an elevation of 1600 feet American Indians used the sandstone of the Seneca Point Overllok area to grind seeds and grains. Look for unnatural indentations in thh stone used for these “Indian mills.”
River Cabins, Indian Cabins, Log Cabin Inn and the Old Contact Station:
In the 1930’s, the CCC constructed these buildings from salvaged American chestnut killed by the blight. These buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1950 on Longfellow Trail, the fountain was dedicated to the original Cook Forest Association. The Association was instrumental in raising additional funds needed to purchase the land from A. Cook Sons Company.
Cobbtown and Bracket Dams:
A walk along the four miles of Tom’s Run, starting at Picnic Pavilion #2, can take you back to the hectic, rowdy days of the 1800’s logging boom. Although time and nature have erased much of the past, a keen-eyed observer can still find clues.
Stone and earthen foundations of bracket dams can be found along the banks of Tom’s Run. Bracket dams created an artificial flood to raise the water level for floating logs to the Clarion River. Three miles up Tom’s Run are the scant remains of Cobbtown, one of many temporary logging boomtowns.
Seneca Trail Mineral Springs:
Along Seneca Trail, about .25 miles from the PA 36 entrance at Cooksburg, little remains of the natural mineral springs that produced waters with white sulfur and iron. These springs were popular in the early 1900’s. A boardwalk fringed by gaslights was lit 24 hours a day while visitors bathed and drank the spring waters believed to have curative powers.