Joyce Estate Main Lodge, MN 2024
Joyce Estate Main Lodge, MN 2024

Joyce Estate Main Lodge, MN 2024

Joyce Estate Main Lodge, MN 2024

One hundred years ago Joyce Estate was living large during the roaring 20s, and a century later HistoriCorps is helping return it to its former glory days. 

PROJECT PARTNER: Chippewa National Forest



CREW LEADER: Ashley Aus! 

Project Site Description & History

In 2023 HistoriCorps began a new partnership with the Chippewa National Forest whose region covers roughly 1.6 million acres in the north central woods of Minnesota. Secluded just outside of Grand Rapids you’ll find Joyce Estate, an Adirondack-style lodge built by David Joyce, heir to a major lumber supplier. During its hay-day of the roaring twenties, the 4,500-acre summer vacation spot boasted a private golf course, telephone line, and even an airplane hangar. One can image a lifestyle similarly depicted in the Great Gatsby with historical undertones from prohibition and women’s suffrage playing out among the rich and famous who frequented the estate.

Constructed between 1917 to 1935, Joyce Estate originally contained 40 buildings spread out among the quiet woodlands surrounding Trout Lake featuring rustic log architecture similar to the Great Camps of upstate New York. The Joyce family frequented the estate until the early 70s and in 1972 the estate was absolved by the Forest Service who now manages the area as a popular recreational attraction.

Today the estate is a far cry from its hay day of the 1920s and 1930s with many of the buildings suffering from a lack of maintenance and severe rot accumulating over the years. Last season we were fortunate to receive a gracious amount of local support from neighboring residents who have treasured Joyce Estate as their family’s backyard escape. Their dedication along with our generous volunteers who traveled hundreds of miles to lend hand made a huge impact and put this project in a great position to see completion. This season we’re back to finish the job and hope you won’t mind spending a week or more lakeside with us as we see the necessary repairs and replacements through.

HistoriCorps is elated for our return to the Chippewa National Forest this season and we hope you will join us for this truly one of a kind project. If you’d like to learn more about Joyce Estate please visit the Forest’s website and check out the USDA’s brochure.

Location and Logistics

SESSION DATES: June 2-7 and June 9-14

Please plan to arrive at the campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.

LOCATION: Located roughly 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids, MN.





Tent campers only will have access to your campsite.  All volunteers will be required to leave their vehicles at the trail head and carpool with field staff to the project site. Showers are not available and dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Bring your kayak if you have one!

WEATHER:  Anticipate highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Weather conditions may be rainy, cloudy, or sunny. Volunteers are responsible for checking weather conditions before their session begins, and packing appropriately.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work gloves, clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and applying the traditional skills necessary to restore Joyce Estate:

  • Repair damaged southwest corner
  • Roof replacement and decking repairs as needed
  • Repair exterior and interior cupola

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer!


Visit our Job Calendar to see spaces are available!

*All registrations submitted to projects at capacity will be automatically added to our waitlist.*

CANCELLATIONS effect our ability to complete projects. Please register only if you are certain about your ability to participate.

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies: 

  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night. 
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, work gloves, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places. 
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email for help. 
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day. 
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work. 
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you. 
  • Hard hats, eye protection, ear protection, gloves are standard personal protection equipment (PPE) required on all projects. Hard hats must be worn at all times on the project site, unless working in a designated safe space. Field staff will train volunteers on correct use of PPE. 
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.