By the way - the book is much better than the EBook, too many photos, nearly 200 for the EBook. It looks good on some readers, a bit funky on others. It's all there, just moves the photos and leaves more white space than I wanted. But the book will look terrific on your coffee table or in your business waiting room.
If you have not taken a look yet, here is the introduction.
Guernsey State Park features an abundance of well-preserved work by the Civilian Conservation Corps. When building the park, CCC workers were told they were building something for the ages. Prophetic today.
On the east side of the park, the Museum, many superb picnic shelters, and Lakeshore Drive remain as monuments to the skill and ingenuity of the builders of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Skyline Drive, on the west side of the park, takes visitors to places not accessible before the engineers and workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived in Guernsey. The Castle on the North Bluff at the end of Skyline Drive is a massive stone and log shelter often referred to as the most elaborate picnic shelter in America.
Dozens of other buildings, roads, trails, culverts, retaining walls and bridges built by the CCC can be seen throughout the park. The park itself is not only a fine history lesson of the Civilian Conservation Corps, but of building parks and recreational facilities throughout America. If that is not enough for history buffs, the Oregon and Mormon Trails pass on either side of the park.
On September 25, 1997 Lake Guernsey State Park was designated a National Historic Landmark. This followed the 1981 designation of the Dam, Gatehouse and Powerplant on the Historic Register.
The most recent nomination forms followed the history of the CCC workers in the park. The designation was well deserved and much credit and thanks are given by this author to the research efforts and hard work of those people who made the National Landmark status possible.
This account covers, in some small way, the goings on, lives and legends of the CCC and the many young men who built the park. In his wonderful book, Cowboy Life: Reconstructing an American Myth, William Savage Jr. said, “Most real life cowboys were just that—boys between 18 and 25. Unwilling to stay at home with pasture and plow, they became hired hands on horseback, most did not even own their own horses and few rose above their humble station.”*
The men of the CCC, most also in the 18-25, age group represented that same Cowboy spirit 50 years later. Young men too restless to stay at home. It was Depression time in America, but young men still needed purpose, they needed to find themselves, they needed space and time, some needed to wander, each needed work. These men, even if it was but for a brief time, rose above their humble station in life, they were the hard working men of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Perhaps Owen Wister said it best in his classic Wyoming tale, The Virginian, “Well, he will be here among us always, invisible, waiting his chance to live and play as he would like. His wild kind has been among us always, since the beginning: a young man with his temptations, a hero without wings.”*
This book stands as a tribute to those working men of the CCC. Young men, who dreamed, sweated, played and grew up during a brief time of their lives in Guernsey, Wyoming. Their kind has always been with us, with us for a little while, who then like Wister’s cowboy, wandered off into the pages of history. In the few years the men of the CCC labored in Guernsey they turned a Bureau of Reclamation, irrigation and hydroelectric dam on the North Platte River into the beautiful, Guernsey State Park.
Often, these invisible people of history are hard to find. Workers, they came, they built, and they left, to go on with their lives. When one looks closely, their kind has truly always been with us.
Although historical in nature, this work was not intended to be a pure, research-based study, but instead meant to be lighthearted and easy reading, a telling of both the old and the new stories of the park. Learning about history can be fun and exciting; reading history doesn’t have to be dull and mind-numbing.
Guernsey State Park is blessed with a rich history, much of it made by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The pages of this book will also reveal bits of the park's rich history from the time before the CCC.
Enjoy your read!
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