Last updated: August 1, 2023
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During the difficult days of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed putting the nation’s unemployed young men to work rebuilding the country. Out of that vision came the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
At that time, Akron Metropolitan Park District (now Summit Metro Parks) managed Virginia Kendall Park as a state park. The district recruited CCC Company 576 to develop the park. During a December 1933 snowstorm, the first group of young men arrived at their camp, located near this spot. For nearly a decade, Company 576 used manual labor to build trails, roads, and facilities.
One of their last efforts was construction of the 11-room Happy Days Camp for children, completed in 1938. They used local Berea Sandstone and wormy American chestnut as their building materials. You can see the “worm” holes in the wood caused by chestnut blight. This fungal disease killed most American chestnut trees during the first half of the 1900s.
The camp’s name came from the ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ theme song of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal political platform. The song’s title was given as a symbol of hope for Depression-era youth.
For years the building served as a dormitory for a summer playground program sponsored by the Akron Board of Education and Recreation Commission. Today, the building is an event space called Happy Days Lodge. It is managed by the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Visitors come to hear concerts, attend programs, or rent the facility for special occasions. Across time, many have spent happy days here.
Parking for events and special occasions is across State Route 303, accessible by a pedestrian tunnel. Parking on this side of State Route 303 is for disabled parking and drop-off.
- cuyahoga valley national park
- civilian conservation corps
- great depression
- franklin d roosevelt
- new deal
- conservation movement
- labor history
- chestnut blight
- cultural resources
- historic preservation
- historic buildings
- historic camp
- national register of historic places
- historic district
- ohio and erie canalway
- national heritage areas program
- heritage areas
- cultural landscape