The Civilian Conservation Corps Beginnings

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When President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office on March 4, 1933, he faced a nation that was looking to him for relief from the Great Depression. One in every four workers was unemployed. Millions of Americans had lost their savings and homes. Roosevelt proposed a series of relief programs to help stabilize the economy known as the New Deal.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the first New Deal programs created. Its goal was to preserve the nation’s natural resources while employing millions. CCC enrollees worked on projects related to soil conservation, forestry, flood control, and land conservation. CCC enrollees were men between the ages of 17 and 28 unmarried, unemployed and out of school.

The CCC’s legacy helped to develop state parks across the United States. In Texas, the CCC developed 56 state, national, and local parks and employed over 50,000 Texans from 1933 to 1942.

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Activities of the Civilian Conservation Corps, July 1, 1938-June 30, 1939, 1940. U.S. Federal Document Collection, Y3.C49:1/A/AC85/939.

This 1940 CCC report describes the development of Texas State Parks from 1933 to 1939. Over 20 parks were developed and completed by the CCC during this time period. In total, the Texas State Parks system grew from 14 parks to 48 parks.

Letter from Harold L. Ickes to D.E. Colp, 13 December 1933. Administrative and subject files, Texas State Parks Board records, 2005/041-8.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes wrote to D.E. Colp, Chairman of the Texas State Parks Board, to reassure him that the Board would have control over the placement of civilian workers for park development in Texas.

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The CCC at Work, 1941. U.S. Federal Documents Collection, FS4.2:C49.

This publication describes the average CCC worker, requirements for enrolling in the CCC, descriptions of projects carried out by the men, and the benefits of the program. From 1933 to 1942, about 3.4 million men enrolled in the CCC nationwide.

CCC in Texas State Parks, 2010. Texas Documents Collection, P400.8 C499CON 2010.

This Texas Parks and Wildlife brochure highlights the history and legacy of CCC-created state parks.

The CCC and Its Contribution to a Nation-Wide State Park Recreational Program, 1937. U.S. Federal Documents Collection, Y3. EM3.2C49/9.

This publication describes the efforts made to build state parks across the country including details of the types of work completed. It also highlights the benefits to the workers including education, special skills training and access to basic healthcare.

Longhorn Cavern Camp Application, 1936. Acquisition and development files, Texas State Parks Board records, 2005/041-8.

This application was submitted by the Texas State Parks Board to the U.S. Department of Interior for establishing a CCC camp at Longhorn Cavern. Camp applications detail the area, amenities available, number of men required, descriptions of work and equipment needed.

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Page last modified: November 4, 2016