The striking Art Moderne visitor center at Ocmulgee National Monument has New Deal roots, featuring involvement by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
The National Park Service (NPS) website has this to say about the visitor center:
“Designed by NPS Architect James T. Swanson, the building is an excellent example of the (Art Moderne) style, which grew out of the more well-known Art Deco, and was popular in the 1930s. The style is characterized by smooth surfaces, curving corners and a horizontal effect. The building is a showplace of the Art Moderne style with smooth concrete surfaces, rounded corners, and glass block wrapping the entrance. A deep red frieze near the roof line depicts a stylized Lamar pottery design. Beyond its design, the building also broke with NPS tradition in being a multi-purpose structure that served as the park headquarters, visitor center, museum, and artifact storage facility.
Construction was begun in May, 1938, with the work being completed by CCC and WPA crews. Work continued until December 7, 1941. At that time estimates of the completion status ranged from 55 to 65%. Temporary exhibits were put in place and the building was opened to the public. Despite promises of quick action, the building remained unfinished for many years after the end of World War II. Finally in 1950, funds were appropriated and work began again on the Visitor Center. In June, 1951, the Superintendent accepted the work and the staff moved in. Sixty-two years later the building remains special and stills serves the purposes for which it was designed.”
Project originally submitted by Evan Kalish on December 23, 2017.
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