Rainbow Forest Residential Compound – Petrified Forest National Park AZ


A major upgrade of facilities at the Petrified Forest National Monument (now National Park) was undertaken by the New Deal in the 1930s.  The work was carried out from 1933 to 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), under the direction of the National Park Service (NPS).  Some, if not all, was paid for by a grant from the Public Works Administration (PWA).

A new park headquarters and visitors’ center had been built in 1931 at the South Entrance to the park, but lacked sufficient housing for rangers and staff.  New Deal aid brought the addition of 4 or 5 additional residences near the headquarters. We are not sure in exactly which years they were built.

The houses are built of stone blocks and have flat roofs.  They are arranged roughly around a central yard.

A new park headquarters was later built at the North Entrance to the park, off Interstate 40, and the old headquarters became a museum.

[NB: The photographs below were taken on a rare rainy day in the eastern Arizona desert]




Source notes


Information panel on CCC at Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park

Interview with park ranger on March 29, 2022.

National Park Service, "Giant Logs Trail Guide." n.d. available at Rainbow Forest Visitors' Center

National Park Service flyer on Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, 2013. Available on site.

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on April 30, 2022.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.

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


Location Info

Rainbow Forest Visitors Center
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ 86028

Coordinates: 34.814389, -109.86394

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