Giant City State Park and the Civilian Conservation Corps
A History in Words and Pictures
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
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List of Illustrations
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Timeline Relevant to the Establishment of Giant City State Park
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The dramatic landscape of Giant City State Park has always been described in recorded histories of southern Illinois as beautiful, strange, and beloved grounds. Located at the juncture of Jackson, Union, and Williamson counties, the land defied straight line demarcation by surveyors and road builders. Melting glaciers...
1. The Land and Its People
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An explanation attributed to “Indian lore” in southern Illinois is that Giant City was a battleground between the fire god and the water god. If the sun is the fire and rain the water, this is not a bad metaphor for the geological processes that took place there. Whereas Stone Fort still begs questions about its human origins...
2. The CCC Comes to Southern Illinois
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During the late 1920s and early 1930s, regional newspapers and state publications described Giant City State Park as “the Playground of Southern Illinois” and even “the Switzerland of Southern Illinois.”1 Free entertainment and a place of undisturbed natural beauty had never been so sorely needed. Times were hard...
3. CCC Companies #696 and #1657 and Their Camps, Giant City and Stone Fort
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George Oliver was born in 1912 in Blyth, England, and grew up in southern Illinois mining towns—Tilden, Pocahontas, and Marissa. His father and older brother worked in the coal mines along with other English immigrants who had settled in the Tilden area. George managed to finish high school in Marissa...
4. Work Projects
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On January 6, 1934, a meeting of CCC camp superintendents of state park projects was held in Springfield. Called by Robert Kingery, Illinois director of the Department of Public Works and Buildings, and attended by Dr. Service, procurement officer, and Harry Curtis and R. C. Van Drew, inspectors for the National Park Service...
5. Lodge Construction and Arrival of CCC Company #692
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Joseph F. Booten, chief of design for the Division of Architecture and Engineering of the Illinois Department of Public Works and Buildings, was the chief architect of Giant City’s lodge as well as of the lodges designed at the same time for the other Illinois state parks: White Pines, Starved Rock, Pere Marquette, and Black Hawk...
6. Camp Life
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In 1935, after two years of operation, the Civilian Conservation Corps was proving to be an overwhelming success with the public and with Congress. In April, President Roosevelt endorsed the extension of the CCC and expressed complete satisfaction with the program: “The results achieved in the rehabilitation of youth, the conservation of our natural resources, the development of new recreational...
7. The Last Years of the CCC and Its Legacies
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As Giant City State Park and the Shawnee National Forest were made publicly accessible by Civilian Conservation Corps labor, so were all the Depression-era forests and parks in Missouri, the Great Lakes region, the south, and the west. The evidence of CCC work is in nearly every state’s parks and...
Appendix 1: Southern Illinois CCC Camps
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Appendix 2: CCC Company #1657 in June 1933
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Appendix 3: Giant City State Park CCC Forestry Personnel and Their Salaries, March 1934
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Appendix 4: CCC Company #692 Roster
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Appendix 5: Stone-City Weekly, September 25, 1935
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Appendix 6: CCC Company #696 Roster from 1937 Official Annual
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Appendix 7: Company #696, CCC Camp Giant City, sp-11, Makanda, Illinois, February 27, 1940
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Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 178 B/w halftones, 8 maps
Publication Year: 2010