CCC and Texas State Parks

President Roosevelt established the CCC in 1933 to put men back to work and protect land resources. Texas used this program to build the core of its park system. Learn more in our interactive program.

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See Texas First

Texas already had several state parks when Governor Pat Neff proposed a statewide system in 1922. Among the earliest were those that commemorated the Republic era—San Jacinto State Park and later Washington on the Brazos; these did have dedicated public land but very limited visitor services. In 1923, the state legislature created the framework for a Texas park system, but it repeatedly declined to appropriate funds for either the purchase of parklands or any improvements to donated land.

Building Texas State Parks

With assistance in the 1930s from veteran National Park Service architects, Texas state park improvements began with carefully compiled master plans. Closely following these plans, the CCC built modern roads to lead automobile visitors through a formal entry, or portals, usually of native stone. Lanes with modern "superelevated" curves often passed over rustic stone bridges and culverts. Visitors arrived at the typical refectory or concession building, also of native masonry and wood, and these facilities offered information, restrooms, gathering places for groups, sometimes food and supplies, and frequently outdoor dance patios. Parks with lakes included boat houses and beach shelters, and parks with swimming pools featured bath houses and play areas. Many larger parks, including Bastrop, Lake Brownwood, Garner, and Palo Duro Canyon, offered simple overnight cabins. Service facilities for all these parks centered on distinctively rustic water towers, keepers' lodges, and maintenance areas.