During the Depression of the 1930s, landscape architects, architects, and engineers were employed by the National Park Service (NPS) to design projects and provide daily on-site supervision of park improvements constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.
The need to immediately begin and to continuously “keep the boys busy”1 necessitated that designers design landscape improvements while construction was in progress. The structure of the CCC State Park Program made the most of this situation by enabling designers to develop their projects in response to what they observed on site.
Two of the most memorable CCC built structures – California’s Mount Tamalpais Mountain Theater and Denver’s Red Rocks Theater – provided different models for how NPS designers worked both on paper and in the field to make incremental design decisions.
Facilitated by this incremental decision making process, the NPS designers produced significant works of Landscape Architecture that were simultaneously influenced by the scheme’s evolving form and the emerging native features of the landscape.
This research was made possible through Grant MT-2210-9-NC-31 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).