Colonial National Historical Park: Landscaping – Yorktown VA

Description

Colonial National Historical Park (CNHP) was created by Congress and President Herbert Hoover in 1930 and consists primarily of the Yorktown Battlefield, the historic Jamestown Settlement, and Colonial Parkway.

Several federal agencies participated in its development. The National Park Service (NPS) provided general supervision of the entire historic site project after it was given responsibility for all historic battlefields by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Public Works Administration (PWA) contributed at least $600,000 (and probably much more) in funding.

Relief agencies provided labor power: the Civil Works Administration (CWA) worked over the winter of 1933-1934 (probably for mosquito control and general clean-up) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) researched the area’s history and created replica uniforms for museums and reenactments.  The bulk of the work, however, was carried out by the African American young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from 1933 to 1941.

Among other projects, the CCC enrollees landscaped the grounds; removed wildfire fuel; cleared colonial roads; and graded and planted trees and shrubs along Colonial Parkway (see “Colonial Parkway – Yorktown VA”).

The work at CNHP is a great example of the CCC’s tremendous and nationwide historic preservation efforts – a significant amount of it carried out by African American enrollees. A 1995 Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) noted: “For a decade the CCC actively restored [CNHP’s] landscape, and much of the innovative work accomplished during the 1930s was done so only because of their involvement. Today, the restoration work completed by the CCC holds up better than projects initiated just twenty years ago.”

Source notes

“Colonial Monument Projects Costing Near Million To Put Hundreds To Work Next Year,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), October 1, 1933, p. 22.

“More CCC Men Reach Yorktown,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), November 12, 1933, p. 18.

“Colonial Monument Has Cost Nearly $3,000,000 Up To Present Time,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), December 3, 1933, p. 25.

“Survey Reveals High Hopes Held By Leading Citizens Of Entire Area Near This City,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), December 31, 1933, p. 11.

“Broad Development Assignment Handed Yorktown CCC Men,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 22, 1934, p. 17.

“Salvage War Relics After 153 Years: British Ships Sunk At Yorktown Located In Muddy Bottom of Bay and Hulks Yield Antique Cannon and Shot, Collections of Glassware and Priceless Historic Trophies,” The Times Dispatch(Richmond, Virginia), December 9, 1934, p. 60.

“Five CCC Companies Have Extensive Program In Monument Section,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), February 17, 1935, p. 16.

“To Get Clear Picture of Colonial Area,” The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), March 27, 1935, p. 15.

“WPA Sewing Unit Making Exhibit of Banners, Uniforms,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 30, 1936, p. 9.

“Colonial Monument Area Resuming Appearance Of Days Of Seige,” Daily Press (Newport, News, Virginia), May 24, 1936, p. 28.

“Hundreds Attend CCC Anniversary At Yorktown Camp,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 5, 1937, p. 7.

“Company 2303 Holds Open House,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 5, 1937, p. 7.

“Yorktown CCC Camps Plan Anniversary Celebration,” The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), April 3, 1938, p. 9.

“Civilian Conservation Camp Anniversary To Be Observed In Historical Parkway Area,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 3, 1938, p. 14.

“Fortifications Being Restored,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 6, 1939, p. 13.

“Yorktown Siege Casualties Small Compared To Modern Battle In Like Conditions: WPA Research Account Indicates Only 85 Men In Army of 16,000 Colonials Met Death,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), December 10, 1939, p. 46.

“CCC Camps Invite Public To Attend Open House Today,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), April 7, 1940, p. 24.

“Colonial Park Sees Advance During 1941,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), December 31, 1941, p. 8.

Monuments to the New Deal Can Be Found Here,” Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), January 8, 2015 (accessed January 16, 2022).

John C. Paige, The Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service, 1933-1942: An Administrative History, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1985 (accessed January 16, 2022).

Yorktown Battlefield Tour Roads,” Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. VA-117, 1995, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (accessed January 16, 2022).

Colonial National Historical Park Roads and Bridges,” Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. VA-115, 1995, Library of Congress (accessed January 16, 2022).

Colonial National Monument Parkway,” Historic American Engineering Record, HAER No. VA-48, 1988, Library of Congress (accessed January 16, 2022).

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on January 20, 2022.

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Location Info


1000 Colonial Parkway
Yorktown , VA 23690

Coordinates: 37.230839, -76.502360

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