CCC Structures Represent History of Gooseberry Falls State Park

Northland Uncovered: CCC Buildings

In the 1930’s many work programs were developed through the New Deal to provide work for families struggling through The Great Depression.

One of these programs, The Civilian Conservation Corps, helped build a well-known Minnesota State Park.

Gooseberry is home to the longest encampment for CCC workers.

“We have 80 structures that are in the National Historic Archive,” said Carolyn Rock, Gooseberry Falls State Park Naturalist.

The CCC boys worked at the park from 1934 to 1942.

“The boys really were the ones that were the back breakers. They were the ones that actually built the parks,” said Rock.

The young men built everything from shelter buildings to pump stations, to roads and trails.

“Everything like that that we depend on as a park through the seasons that have been here was really based on the boys,” explained Rock.

About 200 men were working on-site at a time.

“Without these structures, without the facilities that we’ve got you know this property would look very different, it would be used in a very different way,” said Rock.

Through all this hard work the men saw benefits, too.

“It provided not only work, but funds to go back to their families, but it also taught these young men a trade,” said Rock.

In fact, they learned from the best.

“They had Italian stone masons actually help the boys learn this trade,” Rock said.

Today, Rock says it’s humbling for park employees to preserve the CCC legacy, “they always were doing for the bigger, better, good of the world.”

Gooseberry Falls State Park is open daily. For more information on the park, head to their website.

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