Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps

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Civilian Conservation Corps workers at Blanco State Park
© Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps

"New Deal" work project led to 50 state parks, dozens of structures in Texas

(SAN ANTONIO) – The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will honor the legacy of Civilian Conservation Corps on Sunday, July 10, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The CCC, proposed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, was one of the most successful work projects of the era, bringing Americans back into the labor force. From 1933 to 1941, the agency built a legacy of roads, parks, bridges and buildings across the nation.

In Texas, the CCC was instrumental in establishing 50 state parks, plus roads, bridges, cabins and dozens of other facilities.

Jennifer Carpenter, a preservation, research, and outreach specialist with Texas State Parks’ Historic Sites and Structures Program, will introduce the audience to the CCC and its place in American history, then highlight how Texas, and in particular Texas State Parks, benefited from the CCC’s efforts.

"The Civilian Conservation Corps was vitally important to the development and expansion of the Texas State Park system," said Carpenter. "Like many other work programs of the New Deal, it focused on improving American infrastructure. It left an indelible mark on our built environment in a way that encouraged a new relationship between man and nature."

The design of the parks was inspired by the landscape and history of Texas itself. Most of the structures the CCC built were from locally quarried stone. Defined as having a "rustic aesthetic," design placed newly constructed buildings in to a natural environment. The use of natural stone, rather than brick, and "bungalows" over historic revival or Industrial Revolution machined buildings created an appearance that these buildings grew organically from the surrounding environment.

Lauren Browning, a sculptor with a Ph.D. in geology, will co-present at Free Second Sunday. A lover of rustic architecture and landscape structure, she will share her observations and appreciation as a frequent visitor to CCC sites. As a stone carver, she brings an artist’s perspective and interpretation to the state park buildings, and will discuss the tools and techniques used in construction.

Browning will share her love for sculpture and stone carving with a short demonstration. Families will have an opportunity for hands-on activities including soap and chalk carving. Other activities will include a challenge from the ITC’s San Antonio Virtual and Interactive Geometry, to build domes and arches found in some CCC structures, and in nature, using wooden blocks.

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA Hemisfair Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps is free, as part of the museum’s Free Second Sundays program. The presentation is 1:30 to 3 p.m. The museum is open noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.


©2014 Institute of Texan Cultures. University of Texas at San Antonio. All Rights Reserved.


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