Historical Overview + Documentation
The 200-man CCC camps were ideally suited for the construction of large-scale roadside development projects such as the Cascade River Wayside, the Gooseberry Falls Concourse, the Garrison Concourse (part of a series of waysides, overlooks, and bridges near Mille Lacs Lake), and a large stone overlook on Willow Lake near Remer. Programs like the WPA and NYA, typically working with smaller crews, constructed dozens of other roadside facilities in the state.
An important aspect of the success of the New Deal projects was their highly collaborative nature. Skills and resources from various agencies were usually combined. At the Garrison Concourse, for example, a bronze plaque credits involvement from the Village of Garrison, the National Park Service, the Minnesota Department of Highways, and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
With New Deal assistance, the Minnesota Department of Highways was able to successfully launch a comprehensive roadside development program and fulfill many of its early goals. In a few short years, the MHD built an extensive collection of roadside facilities and improved miles of highway. The recent Mn/DOT study found that more than half of Mn/DOT’s historic roadside development properties were built during the Depression by New Deal programs. It was speculated that without the New Deal programs, this roadside development would have been delayed until at least the end of World War II or perhaps as late as the 1960s.