New Deal

A group photo of CCC workers
CCC Workers at the Monument

MR Douglass 1938 Photo

In October of 1929 the U.S. Stock Market crashed, sending the country into the Great Depression. By 1932, 15 million Americans were unemployed. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president of the United States. When he took office in March of 1933, he made some immediate actions to stablize the country and within the first 100 days his administration passed a numer of legislations to create jobs and improve the economy. Within two years the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (later re-named the Works Projects Administration), were all providing jobs and relief from the crushing depression economy. These three agencies supplied most of the men who worked at Colorado National Monument between 1933 and 1942.

The largest and most well-known program is the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC employed young men between the ages of 18 and 25 (later expanded from 17-28) in emergency conservation work to improve America’s public lands, forests, parks and private famland. Young men were brought in by bus or rail to public lands where they lived in military style barracks. While working, they were led by Local Experienced Men (LEM) who taught them an array of skills like rock quarrying, carpentry, road construction, and stone masonry.

Colorado National Monument hosted six CCC companies at three camps from 1933 to 1942. These companies were made up of 140-200 young men who were served 6 month stints, although not all companies were active during the nine year time-frame. The young men of the CCC and other WPA programs worked for thousands of hours to build Rim Rock Drive, several buildings in the Saddlehorn area, the Devil’s Kitchen Picnic Structure, and several other smaller projects.

The WPA and FERA both supplied a few companies of men to assist with projects in the monument, often working alongside their CCC counterparts.

Last updated: March 6, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521


970 858-2800

Contact Us