A New Deal for Texas Parks - HTML Exhibit
Chapter 5 - Keeping the Boys Busy.
The Civilian Conservation Corps shaped Texas’ lands, provided places
for recreation, built character in Texas youth and gave needy families relief.
Camps eventually shut down and projects ended when World War II began, but
the spirit of the Civilian Conservation Corps continues every day in Texas
Parks, modern corps organizations and CCC reunions.
CCC alumni from Garner State Park gather for a reunion in 2005.
Legacy You Can See
Across Texas you can see the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in
picturesque parks, along Texas highways and in dense forests. In Texas State
Parks, this legacy endures in the hand-crafted and unique architecture of
park buildings and structures. Refectory buildings, picnic shelters and even
water fountains were designed with nature in mind. Great care and craftsmanship
were taken from the earliest drawing to the last stone laid. Today, the people
of Texas Parks work hard to protect and maintain these special places.
View of Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains
Not only was the natural surrounding considered in building Indian
at Davis Mountains State Park, but architects were influenced by history
too. Its design was inspired by Native American pueblo villages.
The heavy, rough stones used at the foundation of the Refectory
Building at Palmetto State Park seem to make the building
emerge from the earth, uniting the natural and man-made.
This cabin, located at Palo Duro Canyon
State Park, blends seamlessly with the
red rocks of the "Grand Canyon of Texas."
Architectural drawing for Palmetto
State Park entry.
Architects considered local materials, the natural surroundings &
shape of the land in every project they designed. What resulted were
beautifully crafted buildings that fit perfectly in the natural setting.
The Civilian Conservation Corps changed the life of each individual whose
hands stacked stones or built trails. Luckily, many CCC alumni have shared
their personal stories with Texas Parks and Wildlife. These stories give us
a picture of what life was like during the Great Depression and in the CCC
camps. CCC oral histories recount how CCC boys learned skills that they carried
with them throughout their lives or how they met their wives at the local
dancehall. Each story is unique and a part of the enduring legacy of the Civilian
CCC Alumni visit Fort Parker for the
dedication of historic plaque in their honor.
M. F. Rutherford worked at Fort Parker and expressed his pride in
building parks for Texas.
"When I see this place here, and when my mind reflects back over some
fifty some-odd years
ago, and I see this place, and it gives you a proud feeling to know that you
had something to do
with this park. Long-lasting. The hope and with the quality of work that was
put in to this here,
and the time that I spent on this building here, and when I come back and
my mind reflects
back to when I was a boy, eighteen years ago-now I'm a man seventy-six years
about what this training in the CCC-the work, the officers, the leadership,
the directorship that
we had in this-I just makes me feel good to know that I've lived long enough
to see this."
Photograph of W. R. Patrick during
When asked what he learned in the CCC that helped him later in life,
W. R. Patrick responded "Everything. No doubt.
Mostly, I think what it did for me, is how to handle people. I was a supervisor
for the rest of my life and most of the time
in the three Cs. I don't like to brag about it, but that's what made me today,
what I am today. Ain't no doubt about it."
Photograph of Henry Trees.
Henry Trees shared his CCC story with Texas Parks
& Wildlife in 2003. When asked about his fondest
memories, he said "All of them. I enjoyed it up here."
Corps Movement Today
The CCC provided the foundation for many corps groups that operate today
all over the United States. The Corps Network is a group of over 113 conservation
and service groups that operate in 41 states. In Texas, American YouthWorks
provides opportunities for at-risk youth to serve their community, further
their education and assist in conservation projects across the state. Volunteers
from American YouthWorks have continued in the CCC legacy by maintaining trails
and buildings built by the CCC in parks like Garner State Park.
Photograph AmeriCorps volunteer.
Today young people from all over the United
States give back to communities while building
skills just as the CCC did over 70 years ago.
Photograph of an AmeriCorps volunteer.
At a recent CCC reunion at Bastrop
State Park AmeriCorps volunteers
used tools & techniques used by the CCC.
Experience the Legacy Yourself
The Civilian Conservation Corps made a lasting impact on Texas Parks. You
can experience the legacy yourself by visiting some of the 31 state parks
that were built by the CCC. Not only can you experience history through the
Civilian Conservation Corps, you can experience the unique beauty of Texas
through its parks. Much like early nature lovers, visitors enjoy many different
outdoor activities like camping, picnicking, hiking and swimming in your own
backyard. Discover your Texas parks today!
Photograph of cabin at Bastrop State
To get away from it all, many park visitors
spend the night in parks in tents, RVs & even
CCC-built cabins like this one in Bastrop State Park.
Photograph of park visitors.
Texans have enjoyed their state parks
for over 70 years. Today, there are
over 90 state parks across Texas.