Camp Helen State Park renovations complete

October 13, 2009

Rainbow cottages at Camp Helen State Park.
Rainbow cottages at Camp Helen State Park.

Gulf Coast Community College blazing trail to north side of park

Camp Helen State Park has just completed renovations to the park’s rainbow cottages 1, 2, 3, and 4, the stable, the caretaker’s house and recreation hall.

Built in the 1930s, the Rainbow cottages served as retreat accommodations for the employees of Avondale Mills of Alabama. The renovated recreation hall will be now be available for events in addition to the Big House.

Margret Savage, center, is the daughter of the original owners of the 185 acres which is now Camp Helen State Park. Margret came for a visit on Oct. 9 to join the Friends of Camp Helen for a luncheon along with her relatives Jerry Evans, Nancy Stroud, Richard and Evelyn Cawthorn.
Margaret Savage, center, the daughter of the original owners, Robert and Margret Hicks, came for a visit on Oct. 9 to join the Friends of Camp Helen for a luncheon along with her relatives Jerry Evans, Nancy Stroud, Richard and Evelyn Cawthorn.

Gulf Coast Community College, which leases the undeveloped north side of the park is blazing an ADA compliant trail that will lead to a viewing area of Lake Powell. There will a tram servicing the trail that will run from the main parking lot, under the bridge, then to the north side of the park’s Lake Powell viewing area.

Brief history:

Known as Inlet Beach to the early settlers and developers, the area around Philips Inlet was initially developed as a recreation area in the 1920s. In 1928, Robert E. Hicks purchased 185 acres of land overlooking Philips Inlet, where he built a summer home for his wife, Margaret May. She named the compound Loch Lomond.

Resort development of the property began in the 1930s. Construction of the historic lodge and associated buildings was completed before the 1940s. Between 1945 and 1987, Avondale Textile Mills of Sylacauga, Alabama purchased Loch Lomond from the Hicks family, named the property Camp Helen, and for 39 years operated a resort destination for their vacationing employees. During that time, 12 duplex cottages and a recreation hall were built.   For related story and video about Camp Helen State Park, Click here