Between 1936 and 1943, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) undertook construction and landscaping projects in St. Croix State Park.
St. Croix State Park was developed through a National Parks Service program, the Recreational Demonstration Area (RDA), which aimed to convert land that could not be used for agriculture or industry into recreational space. Typically, RDAs were “located within fifty miles of a major metropolitan area and was meant to allow underprivileged children to enjoy the outdoors.” To this end, workers constructed camp units (cabins and latrines) for groups of children and for families. “CCC enrollees, along with WPA workers, built three camp units, encompassing about one hundred buildings in all. Each camp unit was named for its location – the St. John’s Landing Group Camp, the Head of the Rapids Group Camp, and the Norway Point Group Camp – and was set apart from the other two and from the central administration area.” Many of the buildings are still used.
Upon its completion in 1943, the St. Croix RDA was transferred to Minnesota’s state park system and is in the National Register of Historic Places, “largely because of the historic value of its CCC buildings and structures.”
Barbara W. Sommer, Hard Work and a Good Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 2008. Pg. 107.
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