It’s time to say goodbye to the South Sawmill Lodge. Randy South’s family of South Industries started the 90-foot diameter dome in 2009 on the old family homestead in Island Park, Idaho. Over the next four years, the family squeezed in time to finish the dome which became a lodge and reunion center rented out to dozens of families over the years. The lodge sold this spring.
Randy South’s family gathered leftover material from various jobs they’d done. Normally these pieces of rebar or wood would be thrown out, but they brought them to Island Park and started constructing a large dome in 2009. They couldn’t commit to construction full-time — their customers took priority — nor could they build in the snowy Idaho winters. Of course, it wasn’t all scavenged materials. They finished the interior with beautiful stained wood walls with black metal railings and supports. They finished the dome in 2013.
Designed to hold Randy and Karen’s whole family — nine children with their spouses and children — the dome has ten large bedrooms on the bottom floor, twenty beds in two bunk rooms upstairs, a large kitchen, playrooms under the stairs, a loft with games, a movie theater. The real fun is found outside the lodge with swimming in the nearby creeks, cooking around the fire pit, riding motorcycles in the summer, riding snowmobiles in winter, target practice, horseshoes, and so much more.
And inside the lodge, it’s good food, visiting, and the occasional NERF dart war.
The lodge is situated in the middle of the Targhee National Forest and is less than an hour’s drive to Yellowstone National Park. Nearby is the Island Park reservoir, Mesa Falls, and miles of beautiful forest roads and trails.
They began renting out the place as a family reunion center and for other large gatherings. Soon the lodge was booked for years and, eventually, the South’s constructed a similar, smaller dome about 15 miles away. They ended up using the small dome more often and eventually decided they didn’t need both.
They put the lodge up for sale in 2020 and closed the sale this spring. They sold it to a family from the Snake River Valley who will enjoy it with their extended family and will continue to rent it out to other families and groups.