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

By Cynthia Brandimarte; Angela Reed | Go to book overview

Fore WorD

The late state representative W. R. Chambers got it right. As he wryly noted to the Dallas Morning News in a comment on the makings behind a viable state park, “It requires more than a cow pasture and an excited chamber of commerce to make a park go.” A whole lot more.

Be assured that the history of the Texas state park system is as scintillating and varied as the history contained within the grounds of the parks themselves. Tales of swashbuckling and double-crossing politicians, grueling political battles, eleventh-hour land saves, go-for-broke land deals, extraordinary feats of civic pride, boundless displays of generosity from citizens across the state, and more recently, devastating fits of nature, abound throughout the system.

Suffice it to say, the hands and will of many have joined Mother Nature in shaping the ninety-six-some-odd state parks that Texas families enjoy and cherish today. Individuals like former governor Pat Neff, who is largely credited for creating the state parks system, had the vision and persistence for making it happen way back when, in 1923. Legendary First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson never blinked when she was called upon to step in and save her beloved Enchanted Rock from its likely fate as a rock quarry. Senator Don Kennard sacrificed his own political career in order to devise an early funding stream, a penny tax on cigarettes, to support the parks. And over the last decade, tireless parks apologist and businessman George Bristol has led an unrelenting effort to keep parks at the fore of public consciousness and political discourse.

Their efforts have all been nothing short of Herculean. God bless’em.

Yet another band of Texans, less known and certainly less fêted than the leaders mentioned above, also deserves our collective thanks and shouts of praise. This group hailed from the time of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation,” a coterie of young men: strong, fit, and able, oftentimes right off the farm, all struggling to find their way and establish their means during the depths of a depression like no other.

-ix-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Fore Word ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • The CCC Creates a Texas State Parks System 3
  • Building CCC Parks in Texas 29
  • The CCC Legacy’s First Half Century 59
  • Preserving the Legacy 87
  • Epilogue - Inferno at Bastrop on Labor Day Weekend~° ˛˛ 109
  • Park Profiles 121
  • Notes 153
  • Bibliogr Aphy 157
  • Index 161
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