A long-term project to restore an historic landmark to its former grandeur, while adding features designed to increase the year-round usefulness of the building.
In 1934 construction began on a limestone block building overlooking the Mississippi river on property owned by Millie Smith Eastman. Previously, the Eastmans had purchased 12 ½ acres of land to be used by the Boy Scouts of America as a summer camp. Camp Burro existed until July of 1930 when Mrs. Eastman continued her husband's interest in scouting by acquiring an additional 15 ½ acres of land, and the camp's name was changed to Camp Eastman. Today, Eastman Lodge stands as the signature building of Camp Eastman, located between Nauvoo and Hamilton Illinois, serving the Mississippi Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America and other youth organizations. The building has a long history of serving the camp in many capacities, most notably as the dining hall for many years. In 1999, the Board of Directors of the Camp Eastman Development Association voted to take on the challenge of refurbishing Eastman Lodge. Many years of inadequate maintenance had left the building in a less than desirable state. Although the building was still used by campers, its facilities were rapidly deteriorating.
CEDA’s goal was ambitious: Restore a historic landmark to its former grandeur, but also add features that would increase the usefulness of the building year round for scouts and other youth groups while they enjoy the many activities Camp Eastman has to offer.
Beginning their campaign with a $100 a plate fund-raising dinner held in the lodge, CEDA worked closely with the Council’s Camp Committee to form a plan to address the major structural problems and outline the improvements to be made. Today work continues on several projects designed to make Eastman Lodge a lasting and useful enhancement to Camp Eastman.