Island Ford Lodge was listed in the National Register at the state level of significance for its architecture, because it is an excellent and rare example of a Rustic-style building in Georgia. Island Ford Lodge is part of a 10-acre complex located in a cul-de-sac at the end of Island Ford Parkway. As part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, the lodge is owned and managed by the National Park Service.
The property consists of the Rustic-style main house, seven buildings, and four structures. Atlanta attorney Samuel D. Hewlett built the lodge in 1935 as a retreat home for his family. Designed in the manner of the Adirondack camps of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the one-story house is constructed with V-notched cypress logs that were felled, on property owned by Hewlett, within the Okefenokee Swamp, in South Georgia. The roof is supported by cypress-log brackets, and the foundation is of fieldstone construction. Hewlett added a barbecue pavilion, retaining wall, and springhouse to the property in 1945. Like the exterior, the interior spaces are finished in cypress logs. The core of the floor plan, as built in the early 1930s, is T-shaped with bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms at either end, and a living room or great room in the central block. The lodge building, barbeque pavilion, springhouse, and landscape features are in good condition and have retained their historic integrity.
Since the construction of the complex in 1935, its uses have evolved from a family summer retreat to a private club (Buckhead Century Club), and later as a church retreat facility (Atlanta Baptist Association). In the 1950s, a large dormitory building and a storage building were added to the property by the Atlanta Baptist Association. Between 1970 and 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) added several buildings, and a structure to the property – Batty Building (1970); Maintenance Building (1972); Island Ford Quarters (1973); Stone Patio (1984); and Hazmat Building (2002). It currently serves as the headquarters for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA), a unit of the NPS.
The National Register of Historic Places is our country's official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation. The National Register provides formal recognition of a property's architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes, and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects. National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.
The Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources serves as Georgia’s state historic preservation office. Its mission is to promote the preservation and use of historic places for a better Georgia. HPD’s programs include archaeology protection and education, environmental review, grants, historic resource surveys, tax incentives, the National Register of Historic Places, community planning and technical assistance.