The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), part of Roosevelt’s plan to put Americans back to work, employed 2.5 million young men from 1933 to 1942, including almost 50,000 Texans. Men between the ages of 17 and 25 from families on relief were paid $30 a month ($25 of that was sent directly to their families) for two six-month terms of outdoor labor.
Although results of the massive jobs program can be seen in our park system (including facilities at Davis Mountains, Bastrop, Garner, and Palo Duro Canyon state parks), most of the work was devoted to soil conservation and erosion-control projects including seeding, planting trees, flood and forest fire prevention, and constructing new or improving existing roads, dams, and service buildings.
State assignments were random (thus, young men from across the country worked in the Texas camps), but the program also hired local craftsmen, teachers, architects, and engineers to assist in carrying out the vast number of projects. And because much of the architectural work performed by the CCC utilized native materials and vernacular designs, the program created a beautiful style all its own, one that can still be appreciated for its simple, rustic beauty in the pavilions, shelters, and cabins found in many of our state parks and historic sites.