About Sky Lodge
Discover the History of Sky Lodge and Unity Environmental University
The Story of Sky Lodge
Sky Lodge’s Historic Beginnings
Sky Lodge, a historic log cabin and 150-acre campus tucked into Maine’s northwest timber country in Moose River, was gifted to Unity Unity Environmental University in 2018. Sky Lodge sits on historic land originally settled in 1819 as a part of the settlement founded by Captain Samuel Holden. It was later purchased by Richard Sutro, a prominent financier from Port Chester, NY. Mr. Sutro commissioned one of Maine’s most popular architects, Felix Arnold Burton to design and build what would become Maine’s largest and most famous home of logs, the “Maw Paw Lodge.”
The lodge stands high on the hillside overlooking Big Wood Lake and the entire Jackman bowl. It has been said that it is “truly one of the most gorgeous views in the State of Maine.” The lodge is comprised of choice spruce logs from Burnt Jacket Mountain and sits on a foundation of fieldstone spanning 125 feet long by 75 feet wide. Completed in 1929, with 24 rooms and 10 fireplaces, the lodge reflects Burton’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology architectural training with a rustic approach to the Beaux-Arts tradition.
In 1946 Jerome Bulfinch “Romey” Bates of Massachusetts renamed the property Sky Lodge and managed it until 1956 when Ed and Ruth Landgraf took over as proprietors. After changing hands a few times in the 1980s John and Elaine Couri purchased the property in 1989, using it as a destination for students of all ages to connect with nature. In 2018 the Couri Foundation gifted the lodge to Unity Environmental University. “My wife Elaine and I have long had a very special place in our hearts for Maine, for the Moose River Valley, and for Sky Lodge,” said John Couri, president of the Couri Foundation. “This gift to Unity College continues the tradition on which the Couri Foundation was founded, giving students of all ages an opportunity to explore and learn from all the beautiful resources this state has to offer while providing economic development opportunities for the region.” Unity Environmental University continues to honor the traditions enjoyed by all that have visited the property over the past ninety years while creating a welcoming space for new generations of guests.
In addition to the historic lodge, which is home to 12 guest rooms and a 50-seat dining room, the Sky Lodge campus also has a welcome center, six cabin homes, an educational facility known as the Moose River Valley Center, and onsite recreational trails, all enjoyed by both the local community, students, and guests to the area. Unity Environmental University: Sky Lodge is committed to creating a sustainable world through local engagement and destination-based education. The environment and our natural resources are at the forefront of all we do and as a steward of the environment, the team helps envision new possibilities for the outdoor adventure traveler and for those who travel with purpose.
Learn how you can invest in Sky Lodge and the education of environmental professionals here: unity.edu/give