PLEASANT TOWNSHIP — The restoration of one of Porter County’s most historic sites will get a high-tech boost with information from a 3-D scan.

Students and instructors from Ivy Tech Community College on Tuesday visited Collier Lodge, a former hunting lodge that sits just off Baum’s Bridge Road at the Kankakee River.

The students and instructors got a lesson in 3-D scanning from Brent Slawnikowski, an account manager for FARO Technologies, who performed a scan of the historic hunting lodge.

The scan takes precise measurements with a laser and stores the information in a 3-D point cloud. It will allow Ivy Tech students to recreate a 3-D model in class and allow for a redesign.

Photography students from Ivy Tech also visited the lodge and the surrounding land to document the building and site.

It’s all a part of an effort to rebuild the old lodge.

In its heyday, the lodge served as a restaurant, store and lodge for men who wanted to hunt along the Kankakee River.

It was a stone’s throw from more famous hunting lodges that served presidents and giants in industry, said John Hodson, who owns the lodge and serves as president of the Kankakee Valley Historical Society.

He purchased the lodge about 15 years ago and has been looking to restore it.

But the building’s deterioration is so advanced that simply refurbishing the building is not possible, he said. Hodson said engineers gave him three options: do nothing, demolish the building and rebuild or dismantle the building and rebuild reusing salvageable material.

His hope is to dismantle the building, explore the land beneath it, and rebuild a replica, Hodson said.

The lodge’s windows and doors are boarded up now, Hodson said, because it’s not safe to enter, but he said much of the flooring and wainscoting inside are still intact. Much of the siding is still in good shape, Hodson said, and similar siding on a another Kankakee River building was salvaged and can be used on the new structure.

Jason Gordon, design technology program chair at Ivy Tech, said the information from the scan will be shared with students in building construction technology and design technology classes at Ivy Tech. A new building can be designed in class with the data gathered last week. The lodge was built in 1890 and stands as one of the few relics of the period before the Grand Kankakee Marsh was drained and the river dredged and straightened to create farmland and to make the river easier to navigate.

Before the river was dredged, the spot at what is now Baum’s Bridge Road was the narrowest point in the river, making it the desired place to cross for thousands of years, Hodson said.

Land around the lodge has been studied by archaeologists, who have found items dating back 11,000 years.

Hodson said after the lodge is dismantled, he hopes to explore the area beneath the building before a new building is erected.

He does not know yet how the new building will be used, but it could be used for retreats or even as a bed and breakfast. He said whatever venture is chosen, it will have to become self-sustaining.

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community. Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.