Longhorn Cavern Entrance StepsThe grand stairway into Longhorn Cavern was built by Civilian Conservation Corps Company 854 between 1934 and 1938.
“The park is named for Longhorn Cavern, a limestone cave formed by the cutting action of an underground river that receded thousands of years ago. Before the cave became a tourist attraction, it was used over the years by Indians, Confederate soldiers and outlaws, including outlaw Sam Bass.
From 1934 to 1942, Company 854 of the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed residences, pavilions and an observation tower in the National Park Service Rustic architectural style. They also explored and developed the cavern and built walkways.” (wikipedia)
A Recorded Texas Historic Landmark erected in front of the administration building in 1989 reads:
“Longhorn Cavern opened as a state park in 1932. From 1934 to 1942, Company 854 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked here to explore and develop the cavern. Using hand labor and native materials, the CCC workers built this structure in a style now known as National Park Service (NPS) Rustic. Completed by 1936, the one-story stone pavilion served as administrative offices for the park until 1967. An outside stairway leads to an observation terrace.” (atlas.thc.state.tx.us)
The work carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Longhorn Caverns State Park includes the entrance portals, Park Road 4 and improvements to its right-of-way, culverts, cavern entrance, administration building, cabin, observation tower/water tower, picnic area, custodian’s dwelling, and prototype Cabin C. A Double Cabin and prototype Cabins A and B were designed but not built.
Excerpt from Texas Parks and Wildlife: “Fresh off their completed work at Blanco State Park, CCC Company 854 enrollees turned their attention to the 639-acre Longhorn Cavern State Park in 1934, beginning with the arduous task of hauling some 2.5 tons of silt, debris, and guano out of the underground river-formed limestone cavern. Thus began an organized exploration of one of Texas’s natural wonders. The enrollees mapped passageways, installed more than two miles of lighting, and made improvements to allow public access.
From sediment, limestone, and crystal formations found inside the cave, the CCC, under the direction of noted architects Samuel C. P. Vosper and George Walling, fashioned a fantastic and unique set of aboveground public facilities, including the administration building, with its dramatic silhouette, colorful materials, and Gothic arches. An observation tower, one prototype tourist cabin, and cavern entrance compound stairway were also erected, all of cut stone quarried on the park.”
Project originally submitted by Susan Kline on January 29, 2014.
Additional contributions by Eveline Evans.
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