CCC Company 1801, originally a mixed-race company, performed initial development work on Goose Island State Park during two six-month periods in 1934 and1935. The park, bordered by St. Charles and Aransas Bays, and sitting on the Lamar Peninsula along the Texas coastline, was subject to extensive CCC work in clearing undergrowth, planting trees, and caring for "Big Tree," an ancient coastal live oak.
Using local materials, the CCC team, led by principal architects George T. Patrick and Thomas B. Thompson, constructed a concession building made of shell crete—blocks cast from oyster shell to form the walls and arches. They also improved an existing road that became Park Road 13 and access roads on the 307-acre park, paving them with crushed oyster shells. They finished the park's picnic areas in a suitably “tropical" manner, with thatched roofs of palmetto leaves.
Company 1801 endured harsh treatment and tragedy after the U.S. reconfigured its formerly "mixed" enrollment to an all African American camp on April 1, 1935. Nearby communities objected, taking their complaints all the way to Vice President John Nance Garner. In June, following a murder associated with the camp, the U.S. Army quickly transferred Company 1801 to soil conservation work at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The incident's aftermath and high-level attention resulted in an absolute racial-segregation policy for the CCC nationally. Henceforth, all black enrollees served in their states of residence; white (and Latinos) could serve anywhere in the nation. All state governors were charged with ensuring local community cooperation with future assignments of the African American companies, and if no standard work assignments could be found for these companies, they were sent to U.S. Army posts such as Fort Sam Houston and Fort Bliss (El Paso).
- Park Location
- Aransas County, 10 miles northeast of Rockport, State Highway 35 to Park Road 13
- CCC Company
- 1801, 1801(C) (April-September 1935)
- Activity Dates
- CCC Construction
- Entrance Portal, Concession Building (currently the recreation hall), Picnic Units, Beachside Roads, Bridges, Camp Shelters with Fireplaces, Tables and Benches (fifteen planned but not constructed), and Drainage Systems.
- See all objects related to Goose Island State Park
- Learn More
- Park information from Texas Parks and Wildlife website