Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps

Article excerpt

Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. By Cynthia Brandimarte, with Angela Reed. Foreword by Carter Smith. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013. Pp. [xviii], 167. $25.00, ISBN 978-1-60344-819-2.)

The seventy-fifth anniversary of many New Deal programs has provoked great interest, both academic and popular, in the architectural legacy that remains today, particularly seen in the some eight hundred state parks throughout the United States built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) sought to honor and promote this legacy within the Lone Star State, where the CCC constructed twenty-nine state parks, by developing a website, The Look of Nature: Designing Texas State Parks During the Great Depression (www.texascccparks.org), and this companion volume, Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The first half of Texas State Parks and the CCC briefly examines the initial development of the state park program; the rustic design and landscape considerations of park development and the influence of the National Park Service during the New Deal decade; and the experiences of the young men of the CCC who built the parks. These overviews rely heavily on well-known studies in the CCC canon, including James Wright Steely's important book-length treatment, Parks for Texas: Enduring Landscapes of the New Deal (Austin, 1999). However, this new general history of the CCC in Texas is enriched vitally through the use of several interviews with CCC alumni, conducted by TPWD staff, excerpts of which are available on the Look of Nature website. The second half of the book explores the legacy of the CCC state parks: the parks were hugely popular with the public yet were plagued by the lack of financial support from the state legislature, almost from the start, a situation not unique to Texas. …

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