In close conformity with successful experience, pointing unmistakably to the camp oven and oven shelter as an important dominating-feature of the picnic groves, a number of ovens and oven shelters have been built in various groves, especially those of North Park. These ovens are primarily intended to make possible light cooking, having in some instances been elaborated to present a modified shelter for smaller groups and, to a certain extent, have functioned as headquarters for particular groves. Their presence has added a distinctive feature to each unit and assisted the picnickers greatly in finding an assigned area. Many of the groves have grown more popular and have become favorites on that account.
These buildings are always the outgrowth of very careful study on the ground, giving due consideration to physical surroundings, etc. The architecture of the ovens is a result of these studies, their materials related to the region, and tastefully blended. Thus, they fit into the setting and never fail to impart a sincere woodland character and spirit of the outdoor, a breath of nature, a delightful harmony of the artificial with nature's own handiwork. This procedure permits the use of boulders or stratified rock, as the case may be, according to the indigenous, geological formations, and in consequence offers a wide range of interesting structures.
At the Cottonwoods in North Park a modified council ring has been built in which the oven becomes the central feature.
A similar but larger oven was constructed at the Hickories, North Park, with stone seats and tables, which adds considerable interest to this popular picnic area.
An open oven was built at Ledgewood at North Park. The procedure here was different in that native boulders, present on the site were re-arranged and supplemented until on completion each served in its capacity as a seat, table, or part of the oven; the entire treatment fitting into the landscape as naturally as did the stones before the new positions were assigned them.
An oven shelter was constructed at Oakdene, also in North Park, on the site of an old quarry. This oven shelter, with its fireplace, stone seat and crane, forms the central feature and is flanked by stone tables and pergolas on either side. Its seclusion, in a less accessible part, has added greatly to the desirability of this splendid forested area and overcame many objections that were had on that account.