Working Year-Round to Develop the Park

Working Year-Round to Develop the Park (HM1D3X)

Location: Fairfax, MN 55332 Nicollet County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 27.166', W 94° 43.889'

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The New Deal and Fort Ridgely State Park

— United States Civilian Conservation Corps —

Although Fort Ridgely had been a state park since 1911, little development for recreation had occurred. Under the direction of the Department of Interior, the National Park Service (NPS) planned, designed, and supervised the work projects. For eight hours each day, five days a week, the men of the CCC were "on the job" and under the direction of NPS superintendents. Only rain and extreme cold slowed or stopped work.

CCC Begins Work
CCC crews began work on August 2, 1934. The first work projects consisted of a park clean up and back sloping high-cut banks on the north side of the park entrance road between Nicollet County Highway 21 and the cemetery. Shortly thereafter the CCC'ers did more erosion control, drained a swamp north of the highway bridge, developed foot trails, planted trees, and installed foot bridges across Fort Ridgely Creek.

Park buildings were started in early 1935 with all of the structures to be built of Morton Gneiss, a hard durable rock from quarries in nearby Morton, Minnesota. Construction was started but only partially completed on a latrine in the lower area, the custodian's residence, and a shelter when CCC Company 2712 was disbanded. On November 1, 1935 the CCC camp closed due to lack of funding.

Veterans Move In To Complete the Park
On October 7, 1936 the Veterans Conservation Corp (VCC) Company 2713 arrived in Fort Ridgely State Park to complete the park. This experienced company of veterans came from Camden State Park, where they completed the development of that new park. Shortly after their arrival the VCC quickly resumed construction of the partially-built picnic shelters, latrine, custodian's residence, and drinking fountains.

Feeling the restoration of Fort Ridgely was their main purpose, the VCC, under the direction of an NPS archaeologist, did the archaeological excavation work. Late in 1936, reconstruction of the old commissary was started with stone quarried from the quarry that provided stone for the original building. Upon the completion of the park projects in July 1939, VCC Company 2713 again moved, this time to a camp in northern Minnesota.

All photographs courtesy of the
National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Fort Ridgely
State Park and
Historic Site
HM NumberHM1D3X
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 11:45pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 362239 N 4923620
Decimal Degrees44.45276667, -94.73148333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 27.166', W 94° 43.889'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 27' 9.96" N, 94° 43' 53.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 125-129 Co Hwy 30, Fairfax MN 55332, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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