Mount Diablo State Park: Roads & Drainage – Mount Diablo CA


Both the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) carried out projects at the Mount Diablo State Park from 1933 to 1942.  The CCC work is well-known, and it is acknowledged by the State Parks on their website and in signage at the Summit Building.

Less recognized is the WPA work in the park, which was mostly on roads.  There is also extensive drainage work alongside and under the roads that features lovely rustic stonework.  The State Parks website attributes drainage works to the CCC but they may well have been done by WPA workers, too.

WPA job cards in the National Archives indicate the kinds of work projects approved and probably built (though cards are not definitive proof that the work was carried out). Most of the cards pertaining to Mount Diablo are for road work, plus some drainage, fire road, brush clearance and so forth.  The WPA also hired unemployed people to map the park and help with record keeping.

Here are some excerpts on road work:

“Construct 9′ roadway Fire Truck trail.”
“Grade, drain and do incidental work on roads in Mt. Diablo State Park in Contra Costa Park in Contra Costa County.”
“Improve Mt. Diablo Park Road.”
“Reconstruct roads; eliminate curves; construct berms, curbing and retaining walls; and perform incidental and appurtenant work in the Mt. Diablo State Park near Danville, Contra Costa County.”
 “Clear out brush, trim trees, collect and burn debris, and perform appurtenant work; for forest fire hazard reduction… in Mount Diablo State Park, near Diablo in Contra Costa County.”
 “Improve roads in Mt. Diablo State Park near Diablo, in Contra Costa County, including grading, providing drainage and performing other incidental work.  Supp.No. 1 Continuation of O.P. 165-03-3513.”
“Improve state-owned roads in Mt. Diablo State Park near Danville, in Contra Costa County, including excavating, surfacing, constructing walls, and performing appurtenant and incidental work.”
This card is quite ambitious in scope and funding, but it is not clear how much of it was actually done and if it overlapped with CCC work:
“Develop and improve Mt. Diablo State Park, including recreational and other facilities therein, located near Diablo in Contra Costa County. The work includes grading, sloping, and oiling roads and camp grounds; constructing new trails; rehabilitating and replanting trees; enlarging summit parking area; installing camp ground facilities, including tables, stoves, drinking fountains and latrines; constructing swimming pool, complete with filter equipment, bathhouses, and office bldg; developing water supply system, with storage tank and distribution lines; installing sewer system, complete with necessary pipe lines and septic tanks; and performing appurtenant and incidental work.”
Survey work:
“Provide employment for needy professional persons in making a preliminary line survey and map of roads and contours in Mt. Diablo State Park, near Diablo, Contra Costa County.”
 “Provide employment for needy clerical, professional and educational persons to conduct a topographical survey and to map the Mt. Diablo State Park, near Diablo, Contra Costa County.”
 “Provide employment for needy clerical persons to transcribe, catalog, cross-index and prepare a new file of records for the office of the Warden of Mt. Diablo State Park.”
“Provide employment for needy professional, educational and clerical persons in making a topographical survey and mapping of Mt. Diablo State Park.”

Source notes

WPA Job Cards found at Fresno Public Library, San Joaquin Valley Heritage & Genealogy Center.

Road work:

WPA Project No. 65-3-177, $16,350, App. Date 9/16/35.
WPA Project No. 165-03-3618, $17,028, Total Funds $22,880, App. Date 9-22-36.
WPA Project No. 65-3-5149, $13,010, App Date 3-6-36.
WPA Project No. 165-3-1155, $102,039, Total Funds $105,765, App Date 3/5/37.
WPA Project No. 165-3-5058, $2,240, Total Funds $3,416, App. Date 3-25-37.
WPA Project No. 465-03-1-15, $6,987, Total Funds $9,469, App. Date 7-17-37.
WPA Project No. 465-03-1-195, $25,407, Total Funds $26,622, App. Date 3-10-38.

General work:

WPA Project No. 465-03-2-261, $169,690, Total Funds $192,270, App. Date 12-9-37.


WPA Project No. 165-03-6104, $1,896, Total Funds $2,336, App. Date 11/14/36.
WPA Project No. 165-3-6273, $3,047, Total Funds $4,883, App. Date 3-2-37.
WPA Project No. 165-3-6248, $390, Total Funds $570, App. Date Feb 8, 1937.
WPA Project No. 455-03-3-129, $8,261, Total Funds $10,514, App. Date 10-2-37.

Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on January 8, 2019.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Location Info

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CA 94517

Coordinates: 37.881698, -121.914155

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