“Red Rocks was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a Depression-era public work relief program under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” that put unemployed men, ages 17-23, to work. Over a nine year span, the CCC employed 2.5 million young men which provided them with shelter, clothing, food and a small wage.
Text from the aerial photograph of construction below, starting at the upper left and moving counter-clockwise:
- SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION – circa 1940
- Dirt fill and debris from the interior portion of the amphitheater was pushed to the south side, while the north side had to be cut by blasting
- For best access, the construction staging area was located at the top of the amphitheatre. Concrete was mixed and poured from there
- The Historic Landmark Registry cites its “strong horizontal lines” as one of the amphitheatre’s most distinctive features. The CCC developed a concrete distribution trough – an ingenious system for pouring the material in such uniform and visually pleasing lines
- The stage wings were originally designed in an Art Deco style, adapted to the site with a unique curvature in the design and stone cladding. Higher stage wings were built in 1960.
- As they worked, the CCC men contributed ideas to the final design of the walkway known as “The Bridge”on the amphitheatre’s south side.
The WPA was also involved in the Amphitheater’s construction. In April 1939:
“Hundreds of WPA and CCC workers are constructing roads, building bridges, leveling parking areas and building seats for the outdoor amphitheater… “Thestage is about completed, now digging out tons of debris between the two acoustic side rocks where the 9,000 seats will be installed. This is the tail-end of a job which has kept us busy for two years,” Cranmer said.” [Rocky Mountain News]
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