Presenters: Carl Orbison
Janelle Taylor

Commission Agenda Item No. 2
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 75th Anniversary Celebration
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a key part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's solution to the Great Depression. To get the nation back on its feet, FDR created a package of programs collectively known as the New Deal, an ambitious economic recovery program started soon after his inauguration on March 4, 1933. More than 3,000,000 unemployed young men, as well as veterans of World War I, undertook massive conservation projects all over the country. TPWD is privileged to steward 30 parks and historic sites built or improved by the CCC.

II. Discussion: In 1923, the state legislature had created the framework for a Texas Park System, but it repeatedly declined to appropriate funds for either the purchase of parklands or any improvements to donated land. Within days of Roosevelt's creation of the CCC, Texas Governor Miriam Ferguson requested federal funding for 26 CCC projects in state; 15 of these involved improvements in state parks. Over the next nine years, 50,000 CCC enrollees in Texas, guided by ideas and designs prepared by professional architects in the National Park Service, constructed trails, cabins, concession buildings, bathhouses, dance pavilions, and even a hotel to accommodate visitors to Texas parks. By the time of its disbandment in 1942, the CCC had laid the foundations for today's Texas State Park System.

This distinctive history is matched by the unparalleled beauty of the park designs: pleasing scale, picturesque settings, and quality craftsmanship in carved wood and native stone. The many works that the CCC accomplished in Texas constitute a priceless historical legacy for the state and the nation.

To honor both the men and the architectural legacy, TPWD celebrated the 75th anniversary of the CCC's creation; approximately 70 CCC veterans gathered the reunion at Bastrop State Park on March 28-29, 2008.