The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Civil War Defenses of Washington

3 small sepia images of fort dupont landscapes
Images of Fort Dupont during the CCC years.

The National Park Service established two Civilian Conservation Corps camps in October 1933, one at Fort Hunt in Virginia and the other at Fort Dupont in the District of Columbia. Eighty percent of the personnel of the Fort Dupont CCC camp were employed in work to improve Fort Dupont Park. In 1942, a survey listed the works at Fort Dupont Park completed by the Corps. In addition to work at Fort Dupont, the CCC assigned there partially reconstructed Fort Stevens in 1937.

The CCC continued working in and around Fort Dupont until March 25, 1942, a few months later all CCC camps were closed. In 1942, the National Park Service estimated that the CCC workers at Fort Dupont Camp had expended 224,6000 man days and $83,100 in funds. The buildings constructed and used by the CCC were offered to the park in 1944.

Information taken from, Inventory or Work Accomplished by CCC Camps Under the Jurisdiction of National Capital Parks by Ray M. Schenck, 1942.

  • Comfort Station – one of clapboard & board and batten construction, measuring 28’ X 13’ hand made shingle roof.
  • Log Guard Rails – 64 yards along picnic area roads.
  • Sewage and Waste disposal system – reinforced concrete septic tanks.
  • Drinking Fountains – 15 rustic log type with bubblers and faucet.
  • Water lines – 7,100 feet to service picnic areas and comfort stations.
  • Fireplaces – 53 stone-lined fireplaces with fire brick, steel grate.
  • Signs - 30 park entrance & directional signs.
  • Stonewall – 35 yards, 50’ long by 6’ high retaining wall at comfort station.
  • Table & Bench Combinations – 79 picnic tables, hand hewn timber, structural members and plank top table construction, half log on timber supports for the benches.
  • Road – 2 miles of roads. .8 miles, 20 feet wide, Anacostia Connecting Road; .6 miles, 30 feet wide, Fort Drive; .6 miles, 12 feet wide, picnic area roads, gravel surface.
  • Foot Trails – 3.5 miles, grand path in park and picnic area.
  • Pipe & Tile Line – 1520 feet, 24” corrugated culvert pipe used in construction of park roads & play area.
  • Gutter – One cobblestone gutter on concrete base, 80’ long, 6’wide.
  • Fine Grading Road Slope - 63114 square yard, grading cute and fill slopes along park roads.
  • General cleanup - 274 acres, removed trash, brush, dead trees & undesirable plant growth.
  • Landscaping - 10 acres, clearing and grading playfield.
  • Moving & planting trees & shrubs – 25,200 native plant materials collected & planted along park roads & in picnic areas.
  • Park Areas – 2,160 square yards, along picnic area roads.
  • Public Picnic Ground Development – development of two picnic areas.
  • Razing Undesirable Structures – 13 buildings outside park razed to salvage materials for CCC jobs.
  • Seeding or Sodding – 15.1 acres, 1.1 acres of gutter and shoulders along park roads sodded and 14 acres seeded.
  • Topsoiling – 11.1 acres of road slopes.
  • Selective Cutting for Effect – 31 acres, removal of all trees & bush from golf course fairway.
  • Tree preservation – 2,705 man days, pruning of specimen trees in park.

About the CCC

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of the major government jobs programs started during the New Deal, a group of programs instituted during the Roosevelt administration to pull the country out of the Depression. The CCC was established in 1933, and put 500,000 unemployed youth to work on public improvement projects. Their manual labor improved the country’s national, state, and local parks and forests.

The men who were hired by the CCC were single and between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Camps were set up by the U.S. Army, where they worked, which provided them with free room and board. Much of the work was manual labor, and the men worked hard for their monthly salary of $30. $25 was automatically deducted from this pay, and sent home to their families. The pay was a source of pride to the young men, being earned and not a handout.

In April 1933, the federal government asked superintendents in national forests and parks to submit work proposals for the CCC. In June of that year, NPS Director Horace Albright commented on the significance of the CCC:

"Officials of the National Park Service have a deep appreciation that they were enabled to assist in carrying out President Roosevelt's emergency conservation program, one of the greatest humanitarian movements ever conceived for the relief of distress. In addition to its primary purpose of relief, the conservation work accomplished will be of far-reaching importance to the whole country and will build up the health and morale of a large portion of the young manhood of the Nation, fitting them better to be leaders of the future."