Nature forged the Great Smokies, but the hands of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped shape the national park we know today. During the 1930s, enrollment peaked as 4,300 men worked here, building roads, campgrounds, trails, and buildings. They also reared fish for stocking, fought fires, and practiced innumerable other trades. Their work remains an important part of the fabric of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The CCC was the first of several federal job programs designed to lift the nation out of the Great Depression. Created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, the CCC employed three million men, most of them between 18 and 25 years old. Roosevelt declared their work "of moral and spiritual value, not only to those ... taking part, but to the rest of the country as well."
Left Photo Caption
CCC workers performed tasks ranging from the administrative to the backbreaking. Below, a CCC worked planes shingles, and a crew builds the bridge over Little River near Elkmont. Within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Oconalufee Visitor Center, Rockefeller Memorial, and Park
Headquarters near Gatlinburg are all enduring examples of the work of CCC stonemasons.
Right Photo Caption
Twenty-two CCC camps - each home to about 200 men - were
built in the park. Each was commanded by an army officer, and camp life inevitably had military aspects (photo below). Most enrollees received $30.00 per month, of which $25.00 was mailed home.
(NP-X) Symbols indicate locations of CCC camps in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Camps were numbered sequentially, based upon the order in which they were established.