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Fox Ridge State Park


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



Additional Resources

Fox Ridge State Park through Time and Space

Fox Ridge State Park is a wonderful study of a national movement on the local scale. The Great Depression spurred forth the New Deal legislation, including the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC worked on projects across the country and in Coles County. In 1935, the CCC crews began work on Fox Ridge State park eight miles south of Charleston, Illinois. The men built picnic shelters, wells, toilets, and created a small lake on the north side of the park. Although some of these structures are gone, many remain and the park stands today as a tribute to the young men’s work and a wooded oasis in overwhelming flatlands of southern Illinois. 

Then and Now: Fox Ridge Images

Below are pictures of present-day Fox Ridge structures and sites compared to their historical counterparts, either original pictures or architectural plans:

The Brick Pavilion - The brick pavilion was the largest structure built at Fox Ridge by the CCC. The building was intended to hold large community gatherings with a covered space, large fire place, and bathrooms.

brick pavilion 1 brick pavilion2 brick pavilion

brick fireplace

Picnic Shelters – There were three picnic shelters built by the CCC at Fox Ridge. Today only one shelter remains. The remaining shelter was moved in the 1950s so the park staff is unsure which where its original location was. They believe that the shelter was at the top of a hill by Ridge Lake (see the middle image).

picnic shelter picnic shelter2 picnic shelter


Ridge Lake –The CCC’s projects at Fox Ridge State Park included the creation of Ridge Lake a small lake annually stocked with fish for a state fishing study. 

ridge lake ridge lake from above FRSP


The Park Entrance – Although the park’s entrance sign has changed over time the location of the entrance remains the same.

park entrance

Click below to learn more information about the work of the CCC at Fox Ridge and their original designs for the park: http://colescountyccc.org/making-fox-ridge


Photo Credits:

Historic images are the property of Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site

Fox Ridge State Park architectural plans are the property of Fox Ridge State Park Visitor Center

Present-day photographs were taken by Katelyn Dickerson



Secondary Sources:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Activities Fox Ridge,” Fox Ridge State Park, Illinois DNR, 2015. http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Activity/Pages/FoxRidge.aspx.

McClelland, Linda Flint. Presenting Nature: the Historic Landscape Design of the National Park Service, 1916 to 1942. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Cultural Recourses, Interagency Resources Division, National Register of Historic

“United States Geological Survey Map Name: Charleston South, IL,” TopoQuest, 2015. webmaster: Ryan Niemi,  https://www.topoquest.com/map.php?lat=39.40337&lon=-88.15310&datum=nad83&zoom=4&map=24k&coord=d&mode=zoomin&size=m.

Primary Sources:

Fox Ridge State Park, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Coles County, Illinois. Fox Ridge State Park, Visitor Center Collections. Loose File.

Good, Albert H.  Park and Recreation Structures, “Part 1 – Administration and Basic Service Facilities.” United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1938.

Hannon, William. “Emergency Conservation Work, ECW.” Camp Inspection Report. June 1936. Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, Collections.

United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service cooperating with the State of Illinois Department of Public Works and Buildings.  Lincoln Log Cabin (Fox Ridge) Coles County. Various dates.

 This webpage was created by Kate Dickerson, Historical Administration Graduate Student, Class of 2015-2016