History

Big Spring State Park is 381.99 acres within the city limits of Big Spring in Howard County. Both city and park were named for a natural spring that drew animals and people to this area.

The city of Big Spring deeded the park to the state in 1934 and 1935. The park opened in 1936.

Drawn by water

Comanches and earlier Native American groups frequently visited the park area, probably attracted by the permanent source of spring water. Spaniards may have first visited the area as early as 1768.

However, the first recorded mention of the spring is from an Oct. 3, 1849, entry in the journal of Capt. R.B. Marcy of the U.S. Cavalry. He was returning from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Other visitors to the park and spring included cattle drovers and immigrants moving to new territories. You can still see the carvings they left to mark their presence. Read about those carvings in the Guide to Historic Rock Carvings on Scenic Mountain | PDF.

The city of Big Spring occupies the area now. Nearby, Interstate 20 carries traffic east and west across Texas.

Civilian Conservation Corps

Men standing on roof of building under conostructionShortly after the State of Texas acquired the park property in 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived to build the park.

Depression-era lifeline

Imagine yourself with little food, less money and no job. This was the case for many Americans during the Great Depression.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933. The CCC provided jobs and job skills by hiring young men to work on conservation projects. The program enrolled men between the ages of 17 and 25 who qualified for public assistance. They earned clothing, food, medical care and $30 a month; they sent $25 of that home to their families.

Building the park

Using limestone quarried on the site and quality workmanship, the CCC built the pavilion, headquarters, residence, pumphouse and restroom.

Their biggest project was the three-mile drive that loops around the mountain. The men used large blocks of limestone (some weighing as much as two tons) and mortarless masonry techniques for the retaining walls along the drive.

Learn more about the CCC and their work here:

Newspaper clipping showing assembled company and their worksite