“The park’s history is tied to Camp Morehouse, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was located nearby, and a company of young men who began construction of the park in the 1930s.
The Morehouse Enterprise reports June 8, 1933 that CCC Company 1491 under the command of U.S. Army Capt. Ralph L. Ware had arrived in Bastrop via train from Camp Beauregard. The company included 188 enrollees from Morehouse and surrounding parishes.
The men would be stationed at Camp Morehouse about 12 miles north of Bastrop on land owned by the Crossett Lumber Co., where they planned to build a lighting plant, water system and mess hall. When the camp was completed, the men were charged with planting trees and fire hazard reduction projects in the Crossett Forest Preserve.
Starting in June 1933, the Enterprise published regular columns on Camp Morehouse activities, in the form of letters purportedly written by enrollees to family members.
The first letter on June 22 explains the company had constructed a well, mess hall, telephone lines to Beekman and a 25-foot water tower. Subsequent letters report the men were building fire lanes through the forest and that two doctors from Bastrop were providing regular health exams for the enrollees…
The Enterprise reports Sept. 14 the company had planted its first tree near the camp entrance, and the Camp Morehouse baseball team had just “smothered” rivals from the Marion CCC camp.
…The Enterprise reports Dec. 5, 1935 that 160 enrollees of CCC Company 478 had arrived from Crawfordville, Ga. under the command of Capt. H.C. Justis. The company was charged with building the new park, with plans for tourist cottages, restaurant, dance hall and concert pavilion…
He said the CCC men worked on the roads at the park with shovels and wheelbarrows…
The CCC yearbook reports that by 1937 these “inexperienced future builders of America” had completed five cabins, roads, parking areas and the foundation for the lodge hall. The CCC men had cleared Bayou Bartholomew of sunken logs and snags, leaving it “an ideal place for boating and fishing.”
…A ceremony to honor the CCC men who built the first state parks was held at Chemin-A-Haut on March 28, 2009 as part of the Louisiana State Parks system’s 75th anniversary celebration. The event was held in the same meeting hall that had been constructed by Co. 478 more than seven decades before.”
We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.SUBMIT MORE INFORMATION OR PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS SITE