Posts tagged ‘CCC’

January 24, 2014

A Visit To Lake Murray Nature Center

Lake Murray Nature Center

Earlier this month, I attended a meeting at Lake Murray State Park in south central Oklahoma.  The primary reason we visited this location was to admire the new Lake Murray Nature Center below the park’s iconic Tucker Tower.  The purpose-built structure is fantastic, and all the exhibits are modern and relate to the park or the immediate area.

I also enjoyed an overnight stay at the Lake Murray Lodge.  If you haven’t been there in a while – no worries, it looks exactly the same as it has for decades! …But that is all about to change!  The park is scheduled for a major overhaul that includes a new lodge and many other exciting updates.

Of course, there’s no need to wait for the new lodge before you plan your next visit to Lake Murray!  Even in January there are a variety of things to see and do.  Check out the new nature center, the recently renovated Tucker Tower, and the parks’ rich WPA/CCC history.  On any hike or drive around the lake you are sure to see bald eagles and whole flotillas of waterfowl.  (A Lake Murray employee even reported seeing swans during my visit.)  Then there’s the best part: A visit during the off-season almost makes it feel like you have the place to yourself.

Check out their website!

January 5, 2014

More Snow And Cold Weather For Osage Hills State Park

CCC-built Pump House

Snow fell again in the Osage Hills. The flurries started Saturday night and continued through the morning with temperatures stalling at 15°F. The dry snow never seemed to stay put – the wind busily rearranged it all day – which made taking measurements a challenge. I found it from 3.25 inches deep near Group Camp to 6.5 inches deep on rocks in a ravine. Officially, the National Weather Service reported 4.7 inches.

Low temperatures for Monday will range from 5 to 10 degrees above zero, with highs in the lower twenties. Wind chill values from -5 to -26 degrees are expected.

Tractor Clearing Snow From Roadway Over CCC Culvert

Tractor Clearing Snow From Roadway Over CCC-built Culvert

December 29, 2013

Day Two: Petit Jean State Park (Arkansas)

Pictograph Cave 01

Petit Jean State Park, outside Morrilton, was Arkansas’s first State Park.  Construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps was started in 1933, and we hoped to take a look at some of their handiwork still visible in the park.

We had pitched our tent in the dark in an empty campground and prepared for bed. The next morning we discovered that, among all the sites available to us, I had chosen the most expensive of all: a $30 full service (electric, water, and sewer) RV site.  Whoops!  We had camped at the Ritz and hadn’t even noticed!

We first visited the CCC-built Visitor’s Center, which has a room of interpretive exhibits about the park’s natural history and physical geology, as well as the CCC and early park advocates.  We then visited other CCC sites, such as Davies Bridge, the Boathouse, the CCC overlook, the CCC camp, and the CCC water tower.

We took a hike past the curiously shaped “turtle rocks” on our way to Rock House Cave, an overhanging shelter that has faint paleo-Indian pictographs scrawled on the wall in red and black pigments.

Then, we hiked to Bear Cave – so named because a bear was known to hibernate in it at one time.  It was so small in comparison to Rock House Cave that we continued hiking up the trail beyond it wondering if we had in fact found the correct thing.  (Apparently we had!)  On the way back, we had a great time exploring the weathered fissures in the rock.  We discovered handholds and footholds carved into the sandstone, so we used them to scramble to the top of the outcrop.

Finally, we stopped for a late lunch at the restaurant in the park’s Mather Lodge, a portion of which was built by the CCC.  Mather Lodge is the only CCC-built lodge in the Arkansas State Park system.  Most of the original structure is now used only as a waiting / sitting room.  We worked on a jigsaw puzzle-in-progress in this area while waiting for a table to become available in the restaurant.   A well-appreciated fire was burning in the fireplace, which was a nice touch on a cold day!

After lunch, there was only time for a quick walk to the Cedar Falls overlook before hitting the road for home.

Persuaded by billboards, we made one more stop in Muskogee, Oklahoma for “Christmas At The Castle.”  We hadn’t been there before…  And now that I have, I am not sure whether to be impressed by the sheer volume of illuminated inflatable yard ornaments, or disappointed in the mile-long repeated displays of blow-up Santas on motorcycles and Frosty snowmen on airplanes. [There’s my love-hate with tacky tourism, again!] I bought an “animatronic” singing Teddy Roosevelt caricature (a la Billy Bass) for $5 at the Christmas store in The Castle, which Isabel and I definitely think was a good score!

By the time we reached Tulsa, the ice-laden trees and bushes — beautifully enhanced by dazzling white light from the street lights — were a sublime reminder that we were lucky to have missed it all.

November 25, 2011

Company 895 Gives Thanks

This graphic appeared on the cover of 1938's Thanksgiving "Menu and Roster."

The graphic above appeared on the cover of CCC Company 895’s
Thanksgiving “Menu and Roster” in 1938

On the menu:  California Hors D’oeuvres, Maraschino Cocktail, Mushroom Consumme, Saltines, Roast Young Turkey, Giblet Gravy, Oyster Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Buttered Parsnips, Parisienne Potatoes, Poinsettia Salad, Hot Rolls, Butter, Mince Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Mixed Nuts, Assorted Fruits, Coffee, Cigarettes, and Cigars.

Civilian Conservation Corps Company 895
lived in and built Osage Hills State Park from 1935-1941.

November 4, 2011

Work Begins on Osage Hills’ Stone Bridge: Vintage Photo

Building The Osage Hills State Park Auto Bridge in Bobcat Hollow - 1936

I recently received this photograph from a 97-year-old former CCC member. He helped build Osage Hills State Park from 1936 until 1938. At that time, the enrollee’s camp was a primitive affair and the state park was just beginning to take shape.

This image shows the boys building the foundation of the automobile bridge at Bobcat Hollow – the arched bridge you cross on your way into the park. [Note the gin poles used to hoist the rocks into position.]

I’ll try to get a shot of the bridge from this location once the leaves have fallen off the trees. The finished bridge is shown below, as it appeared in 2007.

The Osage Hills State Park Auto Bridge in Bobcat Hollow - 2007