Construction on the man-made lake itself began in 1932 and was completed with help from the CCC:
“In April of 1933, reforestation camps (Civilian Conservation Corps) were located in Iowa. Camp #773, Camp Roosevelt Civilian Reforestation Army, was stationed at Lake Wapello. George W. Vaughn was the army officer in charge of the men. The 187 recruits assigned to Camp Roosevelt arrived on May 30th, the additional 25 men who completed the camp’s enrollment were mustered from local unemployed men. These men were assigned to gully erosion work, because erosion might dump crumbling tons of shore into the newly formed body of water. The recruits also built a fence around the park.
The new boat and bath house under construction was no ordinary affair. The structure was being built of rock. Space was provided for boat shelter, men’s and women’s dressing rooms, check rooms and a concession stand. C.C.C. workers were busy with tractors and graders building a sloping beach which was sanded. Also, a total of 105,000 black locust trees were to be planted in the park area by the C.C.C. youths.
On June 15, 1936, the lake was opened for the first time for fishing purposes at 4:45 A.M. there were 300 autos lined up at the main entrance awaiting the starting signal.” (http://lakewapello.org/History.html)
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