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Identification:

Preferred Structure Name:
Old Administration Building-Ranger Station
Structure Number:
HS-01
Other Structure Name(s):
 
Other Structure Name(s)
No records.
Park:
Jewel Cave National Monument
Historic District:
 
Historic District
No records.
Structure State:
South Dakota
Structure County:
Custer
Region:
Midwest
Cluster:
Great Plains
Administrative Unit:
Jewel Cave National Monument
LCS ID:
010706
 
Historical Significance:

National Register Status:
Entered - Documented
National Register Date:
04/05/1995
National Historic Landmark?:
No
Significance Level:
Local
Short Significance Description:
Period of Signfiicance: 1925-1949. The Old Administration Building-Ranger Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps and under Criterion C as a fine example of National Park Service rustic architecture.
Long Significance Description:
This Ranger Station is located at Jewel Cave National Monument, which President Theodore Roosevelt authorized February 7, 1908, to protect the cave as an important natural feature, to make the resource more accessible to the public, and to interpret the resource. The National Park Service assumed responsibility for managing Jewel Cave in 1933. Jewel Cave NM is historically significant for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration. The Ranger Station is also significant under Criterion C as an excellent example of National Park Service Rustic Architecture. The materials, design, and setting of this structure strongly reflect natural landscape elements incorporated into the design process.

The earliest written account of Jewel Cave is a mining claim filed by Frank and Albert Michaud in 1900. The brothers described the entrance as a hole too small for human entry, with a blast of cold air coming out. After subsequent enlargement with dynamite, they entered the cave, discovering crawlways and low-ceilinged rooms coated with beautiful calcite crystals that sparkled like "jewels" in their lantern light.

The Michauds filed the "Jewel Tunnel Lode" mining claim in Custer, South Dakota, on October 31, 1900. Although calcite crystals had little commercial value, they intended to develop this natural wonder into a tourist attraction. During the following decade, they constructed a trail within the cave, built a lodge on the rim of Hell Canyon, and even organized the "Jewel Cave Dancing Club" in an attempt to attract tourists. However, a lack of people in this region and the difficulty of travel at that time made the tourist venture anything but a financial success.

A local movement to set Jewel Cave aside for preservation culminated in the proclamation of the cave as a National Monument on February 7, 1908. The Michaud brothers eventually moved away and their family sold the claim to the government for about $750.

In 1928, a group of businessmen formed the Jewel Cave Corporation and provided tours to the public. This continued until 1939. The National Park Service began administering the monument in 1933. Rangers from Wind Cave National Park staffed the monument in the summer.

The Civilian Conservation Corps established a camp at Jewel Cave in May 1935. Twenty-five men, with a budget of $1,500, accomplished several projects for the Park Service. A three-room cabin and comfort stations were built. Sewage and water connections were completed for the cabin and public campground. The cave entrance was altered to provide easier access, and a surface trail of approximately 800 feet was constructed, along with a new stone stairway. The Michaud’s original log building was removed at this time.
In 1939, a National Park Service Ranger was stationed at the monument and began conducting cave tours and providing visitor services. The cabin became home to the monument’s first permanent ranger in 1941. Except for a brief period of closure during World War II, NPS rangers staffed the cabin and cave tour operation. Then, in the late 1950s, significant discoveries were made within the cave, which led to development of a new visitor center and cave tour route.

The Ranger Cabin at Jewel Cave is listed on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its association with the development of the park, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration. It is also listed on the National Register under Criterion C as a fine example of NPS Rustic Architecture. It is historically significant at the local level.
 
Construction Period:

Construction Period:
Historic
Chronology:
 
Physical Event
Begin Year
Begin Year AD/BC
End Year
End Year AD/BC
Designer
Designer Occupation
1. 
Built
1935
AD
1935
AD
Civilian Conservation Corps
Other
2. 
Designed
1935
AD
1935
AD
NPS Branch of Plans and Design
Architect
3. 
Altered
1946
AD




4. 
Restored
1986
AD


National Park Service
Architect
 
Function and Use:

Primary Historic Function:
Administrative Office (HDQS)
Primary Current Use:
Single Family Dwelling
Structure Contains Museum Collections?:
No
Other Functions or Uses:
 
Other Function(s) or Use(s)
Historic or Current
1. 
Single Family Dwelling
Historic
2. 
Ranger Station
Historic
 
Physical Description:

Structure Type:
Building
Volume:
2,000 - 20,000 cubic feet
Square Feet:
680
Material(s):
 
Structural Component(s)
Material(s)
1. 
Foundation
Stone
2. 
Walls
Log
3. 
Roof
Shingle
Short Physical Description:
A modified T-plan 1 story log cabin with intersecting gables and a wood shingle roof. An interior stone chimney pierces the roof where the gables intersect. The building rests on a stone foundation, there is a plank front door with inset window, and all windows are 1-over-1 double hung wood sash.