Former entry sign, Cow Creek Camp - Death Valley National Park CA
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was present in Death Valley National Monument from 1933 to 1942. CCC ‘boys’ built erected a total of 76 buildings in the monument, including administrative, residential, maintenance & visitor facilities.
The main CCC camp was at Cow Creek, built in 1933 and rebuilt after a fire in 1936. The original park headquarters was at Cow Creek, as well, and now serves as a Research Center. Some of the old camp buildings at Cow Creek still stand and are in use as support facilities for park administration: warehouses, a carpenter shop, trades shop, radio building and adobe workshop. Some are shown in the photographs below (but we are uncertain which ones). Several historic photos can be seen in Smith & Palmer 2011.
A residential area was constructed on the heights above the camp, but most of the original homes appear to have been replaced over time and the area greatly expanded. Adobe and stone walls and walkways remain, as does one stone building of unknown function. The plant nursery on the site has disappeared.
Cow Creek lies just north of the present park headquarters and visitors center at Furnace Creek. There is no sign on the main road indicating the Cow Creek entry, but part way up is an old stone standard, looking rather desolate, which once held a sign welcoming visitors.
Death Valley was proclaimed a national monument by President Herbert Hoover on February 11, 1933, just before he left office. Hoover set aside almost two million acres (8,000 km2) of southeastern California and small parts of southwestern Nevada. Death Valley is both the lowest and hottest place in the Americas.
Death Valley became a National Park in 1994, in part due to the massive scarring of the landscape produced by continued surface mining allowed by Congress in national monuments. Public outcry led to greater protection for all national park and monument areas in the country at the end of the 20th century.
Smith, Linda Greene and Judy Palmer, 2011. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Death Valley (1933-1942): A Brief CCC History and Visitor Guide. Amargosa Conservancy.
Our Mark on This Land: A Guide to the Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in America's Parks by Ren & Helen Davis (McDonald & Woodward Publishing, Granville, OH, 2011)
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on January 27, 2019.
Additional contributions by John Stehlin, Joan Greer.
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