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Continuing to appreciate Civilian Conservation Corps work
By Tom Adkinson

CROSSVILLE, TN – The craftsmanship of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) masons is reflected in the waters of Byrd Lake at Cumberland Mountain State Park just outside Crossville. April, the anniversary month of the CCC, always is a beautiful time to visit the 1,720-acre park and admire the enduring evidence of CCC work. In addition to the bridge over the dam that forms 50-acre Byrd Lake are park cabins that are still in use. One, the Mill House, is a two-story stone structure that can sleep 16.

cumberland mountain state park
Cumberland Mountain State Park; image by Tom Adkinson.

The CCC, a public work relief program of President Franklin Roosevelt, operated from 1933-1942 during the Great Depression. A PBS documentary labeled it “one of the boldest and most popular New Deal experiments.” Approximately 3 million young, unemployed and unmarried men were hired for mostly unskilled manual labor jobs on rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. They carved roads and trails, planted forests, built fire towers, created campgrounds and left legacies such as the bridge at Cumberland Mountain State Park. Among those who sweated for the CCC before they became famous were actors Raymond Burr, Walter Matthau and Robert Mitchum, test pilot Chuck Yeager and baseball star Stan Musial. Tennessean and World War I hero Alvin York was a CCC project manage.

Trip Planning Resources:

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published April 19, 2019

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