Bidwell Park, Chico CA–entry sign at One Mile Recreation Area
Chico’s Bidwell Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. It follows the course of Big Chico Creek for several miles into the foothills. The park land was originally donated to the city early in the 20th century by the widow of Chico’s founder, John Bidwell. New Deal agencies made several improvements to the park in the 1930s.
It appears that State Emergency Recovery Agency (SERA) workers did road gravelling in the park, and worked on bathhouses and repair of the superintendent’s residence–SERA was funded in part by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FEMA).
At the upper end of the park, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a road and the a flume-diversion dam on the creek and flume leading to the park reservoir (Horseshoe Lake), along with rock bridges on the north side of the creek, all c. 1939. The WPA also completed Sycamore Pool and Bidwell Bowl Amphitheater.
In the middle portion of the park, the CCC built what is now called Peterson Drive, winding down to the One Mile Recreation Area.
WPA job cards at the Fresno Public Library describe some of the work completed by the WPA:
WPA job card, Fresno Public Library, San Joaquin Valley Heritage & Genealogy Center.
Oroville Mercury-Register. Article date needed.
"Forest Boys Swarm to Chico", Chico Daily Enterprise, July 1, 1933. http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20080630/news-of-our-past-for-june-30
Ken Smith, "Butte County gets a New Deal," Chico News & Review, May 31, 2012. http://www.newsreview.com/chico/content?oid=6160692
Project originally submitted by unknown on June 30, 2009.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker, Joan Greer, Andrew Laverdiere.
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