Campfire Center, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park - Orick CA
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) made the first improvements to the newly-acquired Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Company 1903 worked out of a CCC camp established at the north end of the ‘prairie’ at the present park entrance in 1933.
The first order of business was to develop Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park itself, after which teams from Company 1903 worked at other state parks along the north coast of California. The CCC camp closed in 1937.
Among the many other improvements the CCC enrollees made to Prairie Creek park was a lovely amphitheater, or what is called in this instance a “campfire center”. Engbeck (2002, p. 23) shows the original plan/drawing for the campfire center and an old black & white photograph of it.
The present campfire center may be a reconstruction, because the bench design is different and the stage area now has a screen. The CCC crew might not have follow the bench drawing, the benches may well have deteriorated over time, or the original amphitheater was destroyed in the great flood years of 1955 and 1964 on the North Coast.
Nevertheless, there are some traces of the old campfire center: a stone drinking fountain and lamps embedded in wooden posts to light the way along the path.
Engbeck, Joseph Jr. 2002. By the People, For the People: The Work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in California State Parks, 1933-1941. Sacramento: California State Parks.
Project originally submitted by Joan Greer on June 17, 2021.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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