- Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, OR
- Site Type:
- Shelters, Forestry and Agriculture, Parks and Recreation, CCC Camps
- New Deal Agencies:
- Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Conservation and Public Lands, Work Relief Programs, US Forest Service (USFS)
- Quality of Information:
- Site Survival:
In 1937, CCC workers from Camp Cascade Locks began improvements on recently acquired park land to extend the Eagle Creek campground and picnic area to the shores of the Columbia. These twenty-one acres were acquired to provide access to land overlooking Bonneville Dam. This new campground and picnic area is referred to as the Eagle Creek Overlook Group Site.
In addition to landscaped trails and new picnic facilities and campsites, the CCC workers built the Eagle Creek Overlook Shelter to serve as a community kitchen, picnic shelter and restroom facility. As a 1984 US Forest Service report states: “The overlook building and picnic area were developed to accommodate large numbers of viewers interested in watching the dam’s construction. The bluff chosen for the shelter gave them a perfect vantage point to view the dam and the river.” It continues to serve those seeking the impressive view.
The overlook shelter also provides an excellent example of the style and quality of the rustic architecture built by CCC enrollees. Referred to as both the “Cascadian style” and Forest Service rustic architecture, the Overlook Shelter uses stone, exposed support beams, wooden siding in both clapboard and board-and-batten treatment, and a shingled gable roof. A discussion of the architectural style and the CCC/Forest Service influence in this region is offered on a historic plague near the Overlook’s lower parking lot.
Landscaped pathways and stairs lead up from the parking lot to the picnic area and the shelter. As noted in a Forest Service report (1984): “The overlook shelter is approximately 75 by 100 feet. The main portion, a kitchen, is a rectangular area 25 by 40 feet with a shingled roof. Along the front, or north, is a 15-foot-wide flagstone porch extending around both sides. A square wing 20 by 20 feet is attached on the south end and contains the restrooms.”
Also of note: “The kitchen area has a large fireplace of coursed squared stone, built-in wooden benches, and an open ceiling with exposed support beams. The support beams and side windows have decorative carving that includes the CCC/Forest Service pine tree logo.”
As the name suggests, the Eagle Creek Overlook Group Site provides camping for larger groups as opposed to the campsites south of I-84 that are laid out for individual use.
"CCC Authorizes Tract Purchase; 21 Acres at Mouth of Eagle Creek to be Acquired," Oregonian. September 20, 1936. p. 6.
"Eagle Creek Overlook Group Site," USDA Forest Service website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/crgnsa/recarea/?recid=29908 Viewed November 28, 2021.
"Eagle Creek Overlook Group Site," Recreation.gov website: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/234306?tab=info Viewed November 28, 2021.
Otis, Alison. "Mount Hood National Forest," The Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Washington DC: Department of Agriculture, 1986.
Site originally submitted by Judith T Kenny on November 30, 2021.
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