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

By Cynthia Brandimarte; Angela Reed | Go to book overview

Building CCC Parks in Texas

After the first CCC camp in the United States opened in Virginia in April 1933, Texas was quick to follow suit, and its first CCC camp opened a month later in Kirbyville. The nearly fifty thousand people who worked in the CCC in Texas during the next decade were organized in some two hundred companies and provided the state with millions of dollars’ worth of labor.1 The CCC’s contributions to Texas included reforestation, erosion control, and soil conservation, in addition to parks, cabins, and other recreational facilities that helped boost tourism. The CCC broadened young men’s cultural and geographical horizons, including those Texan enrollees sent to work at camps located in other states. For many of those young men, it was the first time in their lives they had a regular job, earned a steady but modest paycheck, and ate three square meals a day.


Land and Men for CCC Camps

The Texas lands for which park designs were created varied greatly across the state. When the federal government solicited proposals, Governor Ferguson rushed a list of ready-made projects, including parks, to Washington. No doubt some included recommendations by Lawrence Westbrook and his Texas Relief Commission, the agency charged initially with enlisting applicants for the new CCC. The commission even began acquiring land donations for parks until the State Parks Board, led by Chairman D. E. Colp, flexed its muscles and declared its intention to take responsibility for all park work in Texas. Having evaluated lands for parks during the 1920s, the board already had its eye on certain areas, such as the Davis Mountains and Caddo Lake.

With new district offices established nationwide, the NPS was poised to process and review applications for projects, notably parks, and then plan and supervise CCC work on them. In Texas and other states, communities were invited to

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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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