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Texas State Parks and the CCC

The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps

Cynthia A. Brandimarte

Publication Year: 2013

From Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle to Lake Corpus Christi on the coast, from Balmorhea in far West Texas to Caddo Lake near the Louisiana border, the state parks of Texas are home not only to breathtaking natural beauty, but also to historic buildings and other structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s.

In Texas State Parks and the CCC: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Cynthia Brandimarte has mined the organization’s archives, as well as those of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas Department of Transportation, to compile a rich visual record of how this New Deal program left an indelible stamp on many of the parks we still enjoy today.

Some fifty thousand men were enrolled in the CCC in Texas. Between 1933 and 1942, they constructed trails, cabins, concession buildings, bathhouses, dance pavilions, a hotel, and a motor court. Before they arrived, the state’s parklands consisted of fourteen parks on about 800 acres, but by the end of World War II, CCC workers had helped create a system of forty-eight parks on almost 60,000 acres throughout Texas.
Accompanied by many never-published images that reveal all aspects of the CCC in Texas, from architectural plans to camp life, Texas State Parks and the CCC covers the formation and development of the CCC and its design philosophy; the building of the parks and the daily experiences of the workers; the completion and management of the parks in the first decades after the war; and the ongoing process of maintaining and preserving the iconic structures that define the rustic, handcrafted look of the CCC.

With a call for greater appreciation of these historical resources, especially in light of the recent Bastrop fire, which threatened one of the state’s most popular CCC-era destinations, Brandimarte profiles twenty-nine parks, providing a descriptive history of each and information on its CCC company, the dates of CCC activity, and the CCC-built structures still existing within the park.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword: By Carter Smith

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pp. ix-xii

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...

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pp. xiii-xiv

The story of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and how it built state parks in Texas between 1933 and 1942 needs to be told for those who steward the parks, the millions of Texans and others who visit them each year, the communities where the parks are located, and descendants of CCC workers who toiled so hard to build an important part of modern Texas...


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pp. xv-xvi

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xvii-2

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1. The CCC Creates a Texas State Parks System

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pp. 3-28

When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in March 1933, the United States was experiencing the worst economic depression in its history. Factories had closed, banks and companies had become bankrupt, and a quarter of all workers were unemployed. Agricultural income had plummeted, and debts, exacer bated by an unprecedented drought in the Southwest, had driven many...

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2. Building CCC Parks in Texas

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pp. 29-58

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 pro...

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3. The CCC Legacy’s First Half Century

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pp. 59-86

By the early 1940s, many CCC enrollees had completed their time in camps and left their CCC work experiences behind. But on December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the United States declared war against Japan and Germany within the next few days. During the months that followed, former CCC...

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4. Preserving the Legacy

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pp. 87-108

As 1983 approached, the NPS, many state park systems, CCC alumni groups, and others prepared to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Becoming officially “historic” at fifty, according to criteria of the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings, features, and landscapes of CCC...

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Epilogue: Inferno at Bastrop on Labor Day Weekend

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pp. 109-120

This and other reports of a fire in Bastrop State Park and the fight by CCC workers to extinguish it appeared in area newspapers on March 12, 1942. The builders of the park, CCC Companies 1805 and 1811, had vacated the park in October 1939.1 Although they were not present to fight the 1942 fire, other CCC...

Park Profiles

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pp. 121-152


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pp. 153-156


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pp. 157-160


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pp. 161-167

Back Cover

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pp. 190-190

E-ISBN-13: 9781603448253
E-ISBN-10: 160344825X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603448192

Page Count: 188
Illustrations: 113 color, 110 b&w photos. Index. Bib.
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Travel Guides

OCLC Number: 839386320
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Texas State Parks and the CCC