Herman Stern Dining Hall & Kitchen

Camp Wilderness: Historic Trails

Herman Stern Dining Hall & Kitchen

Park Rapids, Minnesota 56470, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University


The Herman Stern Dining Hall and Kitchen were originally built in the early 1950s. It was updated with a new kitchen, kitchen storage, and bathrooms in 2002. It is 5,800 square feet and is a very well used building by staff and guests. The dining hall was remodeled by Sentance to Serve in 2003.

The 2002 updates to the building were done by Smithco Construction of Fargo. President of Smithco, Dan Smith, was on camp staff at Camp Wilderness in the 1970s. The building was also given an unloading dock for food deliveries from Sysco and given heating.

The longest-serving cook at Camp Wilderness was John Lein who held the position from 1946 to the early 1980s. He started working when the original dining hall was located at the top of the waterfront stairs where the concrete foundation can still be seen.

The dining hall was named after Herman Stern. Herman Stern purchased the original 355 acres of land for the camp to start in the 1930s. The camp didn't start to be developed until 1945 because of the great depression and World War II. During the war, Herman Stern managed to save the lives of over 140 German Jewish refugees by sponsoring them for visas and finding them jobs. Because of his devotion to youth and humanity, the Herman Stern Dining Hall was named in his honor.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Camp Wilderness: Historic Trails


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