Stonebridge Area

Stonebridge over Lake Lillian, today known locally as Ricks Pond
Stonebridge over Lake Lillian, today known locally as Ricks Pond

NPS photo/Mitch Smith

The Stonebridge Area contains several features of the old Fordyce-Ricks estate. In 1878 Samuel W. Fordyce purchased about 1,200 acres on Park Avenue northeast of the city. Later, in 1903 he hired the St. Louis architectural firm of Mauran, Russell, and Garden to design a log house on the property reminiscent of a late 19th or early 20th century railroad hostelry. Construction on the imposing 4,338-square-foot home began in 1904 and was completed by 1909. "The Cabin," as Fordyce called it, was designed in the rustic Adirondack style with an exterior of logs and stone designed to integrate with the surrounding environment. Fordyce decorated the interior of "the Cabin" with his weapons collection and trophies of the hunt. John Fordyce, the eldest of Samuel’s three sons, served as construction engineer on the project.

John Fordyce inherited the property upon his father's death and added a dam on the creek below the house to form a pond for his wife to enjoy. Named Lake Lillian in her honor, Fordyce also constructed large and small stone bridges over the creek and pond, a boathouse, and a water wheel to generate electricity for the house.

After donating and selling some of land to the National Park Service, John Fordyce sold the remaining acreage of the original estate in 1937 to Major General Earl T. Ricks. The house and 17 acres on the hilltop above the pond are still privately owned. Today, Lake Lillian is known locally as Ricks Pond.


Last updated: August 19, 2020

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