On-line Book
cover to
The CCC and the NPS
Cover Page




    Brief History of the CCC

    National Park Service Role

     NPS Camps


    Overall Accomplishments



The Civilian Conservation Corps and
the National Park Service, 1933-1942:

An Administrative History
Chapter Three:
The National Park Service Camps
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The early camps often were army tents, which were gradually replaced by more substantial wooden structures. Most of these structures were designed to last for only 18 months, and dismantling and reerecting them proved costly. In the spring of 1934 the Army designed a sturdy building with interchangeable parts that was fabricated for easy construction and could serve as an administrative, recreational, mess, or barracks facility. In addition, the structure was inexpensive, comfortable, weatherproof, easily transportable, and came in panels for easy construction. This type of building was mass produced in 1935. In 1936 Director Fechner ordered that all future ECW camps be of the prefabricated portable variety. By the end of the decade approximately 20,000 prefabricated buildings were used in 1,500 locations. A standard camp was formed in a rough "U" shape, with recreation halls, a garage, a hospital, administrative buildings, a mess hall, officers' quarters, enrollee barracks, and a schoolhouse, all constructed of wood; it numbered approximately 24 structures. Each building fronted a cleared space that was used for assemblies and sports activities. The exteriors of the structures were sometimes painted brown or green, but more often the wood was creosoted or covered with tar paper. Some camps were wired for electricity. [7]

In 1939 the CCC director revised the standard plan for the camps. The new camp was also to consist of 24 structures, but with a separate room or tent for the camp superintendent and separate recreational and dining areas for the supervisory personnel. In some camps these standards were met or exceeded; in others they were never achieved. The exteriors of the buildings were to be painted or stained only to prevent deterioration, and only those portions of the building subject to damage were to be treated with any preservatives. This was done to keep construction costs down. [8]

In the summer of 1933 side camps, which were usually just tents, were established away from the main camps. Side camps were set up when, for example, a job was at such a distance that a long trail trip would be necessary each day. Another use of side camps was during dangerous fire weather when small groups of enrollees were placed in strategic areas where they could keep watch for forest fires and act quickly to extinguish the fires. Crews stationed in these side camps were rotated so that the youths could participate in all camp activities. [9]

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