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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps


CCC road building crew, 1933. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum photo via Wikipedia.

On Saturday, September 27, Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a day of activities celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Established in 1933 as a federal work project during the Great Depression, the CCC employed young men in conservation work on federal and state lands. At various times during 1933-1942, around 4,000 enrollees assigned to 22 CCC camps built roads, trails, fire towers, and other structures in the park.

Great Smoky charges no entrance fee (September 27 is National Public Lands Day, anyway), and there is no fee for the CCC commemorative program. Commemorative activities, which take place in and around the Sugarlands Visitor Center (on the Tennessee side of the park) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., include:

• Interpretive programs entitled “That Magnificent Army of Youth and Peace: the CCC in the Great Smoky Mountains;” “Dollar-a-Day Boys: A Musical Tribute to the CCC;” and “CCC Fire Tower Construction in the Smokies”;

• A panel discussion with former CCC enrollees; and

• Dedication of a memorial plaque.

Two moderate hikes to CCC camps are also planned -- one on the Tennessee side of the park, and the other in North Carolina.

CCC exhibits will also be on view at both the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Oconaluftee (NC) Visitor Center.

For more information, call 865-436-1291.

If you have a special interest in the CCC at Great Smoky, you might want to contact the University of Tennessee Special Collections Library, which has an excellent collection of relevant historical materials, including CCC camp inspection materials (correspondence, menus, reports, and technical and army personnel listings) and a recently published (2001) book about the CCC in Great Smoky.

A more complete listing of CCC records is available at this site.


I ran into an interesting film the other day regarding the CCC in the Smoky Mountains. The film was produced by the U.S. Department of Interior back in 1936 and appears to be a newsreel type production. In addition to a few scenic shots, the film shows CCC corp men building the Newfound Gap Road and a couple of trail bridges. It also has a little bit of footage on the CCC camps.

Here's the link for anyone interested:


One of my relatives - he's 101 - was offered a job by the U.S Government in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which was the newly established headquarters of what was to be “Great Smoky Mountains National Park”. According to his own words, "my assignment was to design and construct parts of a newly required highway network. Labor consisted in CCC and my foremen were local mountain woodsmen. Much bridgework and culverts were involved. Minimal steel was used. Construction was mostly limited to wood or stone masonry".
I am looking for documents about the building of this highway network, wondering if some may be related to him. Can you please tell me how I should proceed to get these documents?

Thank you very much in advance


Frederic J Gannon

Frederic, the park has a pretty well-stocked in-house library. You should probably start there -- 865-436-1296.

Good luck!

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