The lake at Beaver Dam State Park became a well-known fishing spot in the early 1890s, when 18 men from the Carlinville area formed a Beaver Dam Lake Club. They spent $2,500 to build a dam at each end of the lake and double the water depth. For a number of years, the club held summer and fall picnics at the lake. Their families enjoyed fishing and boating throughout the season. The area then became the property of the family of Mrs. Sarah Rhodes, who for some time operated a small hotel which stood on the site of the present ranger residence. One mile northeast of the hotel, there was a cluster of houses and a railroad stop known as ‘Macoupin Station’ where train passengers were met by a large horse-drawn coach which took guests to the hotel. With the advent of the automobile, however, this transit business disappeared and the hotel was closed. The initial land acquisition for Beaver Dam State Park was 425 acres in 1947. Additional land purchases have increased the park to a total of 751 acres.