Residences behind Burlington visitors' center - Humboldt Redwoods State Park CA
Humboldt Redwoods State Park was established in 1921 with purchases of some of the last remaining Old Growth stands of Coast Redwoods by the Save the Redwoods League. It has since been expanded several times and now includes over 51,000 acres, of which 17,000 are old growth redwood stands.
California did not establish a state parks system until 1928, and little improvement work had been done at Humboldt Redwoods before the New Deal. When the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) arrived at Dyerville camp in 1933, the young men got to work right away developing the state park.
CCC company 1607 built a tent camp at Dyerville, at the junction of Bull Creek and the South and Middle Forks of the Eel River. The site turned out to be a poor choice because of flooding, so in 1936 the CCC camp was relocated south to Burlington, at the present site of the park headquarters.
The exact configuration of the camp at Burlington is uncertain (probably the current Burlington campground), but before the CCC moved there, enrollees had built a recreation hall for staff at Burlington in 1934. They also remodeled and moved some preexisting cabins (from a private resort) and built several staff residences at Burlington, which became the park headquarters after the first one at Dyerville was swept away in the 1936-37 winter floods (Engbeck, p. 36). The timing of the latter projects is not specified by Engbeck, but must have been c. 1937.
A ranger confirmed the existence of the former Recreation Hall, which is now used for park offices, but could not confirm which other buildings were CCC. There are still residences behind the Visitor Center at the Burlington headquarters area that look to be of CCC vintage and a number of maintenance/utility buildings of the same type. Yet, the historic photograph below shows smaller cabins built by the CCC. Some of the remaining residences and utility buildings appear to precede the CCC (e.g., the dark, shingled buildings), dating to when the Burlington site served as a California State Highway Department highway maintenance station in the 1910s and 20s (O’Hara & Stockton, p. 75).
The same ranger did point out that the Big leaf maples around the picnic area along the road were planted by the CCC enrollees.
The CCC camp later moved from Burlington to the Stephens Camp near Weott. The exact date of that move is unclear, as Engbeck and O’Hara & Stockton disagree between 1939 and 1940.
Engbeck, Joseph H., 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.
O'Hara, Susan and Dave Stockton, 2012. Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Charleston SC: Arcadia Books.
Project originally submitted by Richard A Walker on August 9, 2021.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.
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