Mather Lodge reopens May 8

By: 
 Updated: 

Mather Lodge. Photo by Z Clift.

At a press conference this week we got a preview of the $4.3
million renovation of Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park, located atop
Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton. Petit Jean State Park became Arkansas’s first state park in 1923.

Interior of renovated lodge. Photo by Z Clift.

At a press conference this week we got a preview of the $4.3
million renovation of Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park, located atop
Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton. Petit Jean State Park became Arkansas’s first state park in 1923.

The lodge, which has been closed since Dec. 2010 for the project, will reopen Tuesday May 8. New additions include a new dining room, an expanded kitchen, a new entryway, a swimming pool, and a meeting room. The lobby and dining area feature exposed log construction and glass window walls to provide a full view of the natural beauty surrounding the lodge. The renovation was designed to not affect or impact the lodges original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) work from the 1930s.  This is important because Mather Lodge is the only CCC lodge which was either completed or still exists in the Arkansas State Parks system. In 1992, Mather Lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As to a bit of history, Petit Jean Mountain received its name from the legend of Petit Jean, the story of a French girl who disguised herself as a boy and secretly accompanied her sweetheart, a sailor, to America.The park, which lies in an area between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountain ranges,  is well known for Cedar Falls. This 95-foot waterfall spills into Cedar Creek and can be accessed via the Cedar Falls Trail, which winds through Cedar Creek Canyon. For more details on the park and lodge visit www.petitjeanstatepark.com.