AURORA, Ky. — The dining hall at a former state park for African Americans has been restored and will be become a meeting and event facility.
Now called the Richard H. Lewis Lodge, the dining hall was part of Cherokee State Park, which opened in 1951 and closed in the 1960s after desegregation.
“We are writing a new chapter in this facility’s history,” Gov. Steve Beshear told about 100 attendees at a ribbon cutting in September. “It will become another attraction for Kenlake and preserve African-American history and park history. Places like Cherokee make sure we don’t forget our history.”
The lodge has views of Kentucky Lake and is on the grounds of Kenlake State Resort Park, which includes a 48-room lakefront lodge, 34 cottages, a restaurant, a marina, a tennis complex and a golf course.
Because of its history and its proximity to Kenlake and its amenities, the lodge, which seats 200, is expected to be popular for reunions, social events and some corporate events.
The Lewis lodge is outfitted with wireless Internet access, a small catering kitchen, restrooms and new heating and air systems. A patio adjacent to the building can be used for outdoor functions.
The Cherokee was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. The original park included a bathhouse, a beach and cottages. A group called Friends of Cherokee State Park has worked for many years to get the park renovated.
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