Last weekend was “Doors Open Denver,” a major event downtown featuring 80 participating sites for visitors to explore. One of the sites this past weekend was the Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps camp. More often called simply “CCC,” this program of the 1930s put 3 million men nationwide to work over the course of its 9.5 year life.
Here are the few photos we captured—when it was busy, we were so busy talking to people we weren’t able to take many pictures!
Despite challenges with directions and finding us, most visitors didn’t seem to mind too much. Every time we had a bit of a break, another group of people showed up at the door! Ages ranged from infant to elder, with a good mix and lots of multi-generational groups.
Two buildings, the Recreation Hall (shown here, with its museum of original CCC artifacts) and the Mess Hall (dedicated to the alumni and their efforts), were open to the public. The Chapter 7 Alumni, of the National Association of CCC Alumni, used these buildings for about 25 years after helping renovate them in the early 1980s.
Repeatedly we heard the phrase “I had no idea this was here!” Yes, we’re a well kept secret, but the word is out to a larger group now than ever before. There was a lot of interest and a great number of questions! The other big emphasis was “Why isn’t this open more often?” (We did DOD in 2008, but most had missed it.) We handed out lots of contact info and park maps, and we let them know tours are available by appointment (email mountainparks AT gmail DOT com or call 720.865.0900). We hope to have a few more open houses this summer, so keep in touch.
Many Denver people found us, but so did people from Aurora, Broomfield, Thornton, Highlands Ranch, and Oak Creek, wherever that is. And one each from Salida, Estes Park, Cheyenne WY, and Fairlawn NJ! We even met a few people who had come here as Girl Scouts or Peace Corps trainees, or who were relatives of CCC men. The Camp was used as a Scout camp and for other groups in the 1940s through 1960s.
It takes a team effort!
Friends of Red Rocks volunteers (on March 30th) and an AmeriCorps NCCC team (April 11th) helped give the buildings a good spring cleaning. We’re grateful for early morning support from staff, who started fires in the woodstoves to keep the buildings warm. We also had ranger support on Sunday, which was greatly appreciated. Volunteers Jamee, John, and Jim made it possible to keep both buildings open simultaneously the whole weekend. Thanks, everyone!
And many thanks to our guests for making the trek out to Morrison and struggling with our out-of-the-way location. At least the snow waited til Monday to complicate life in Denver and the Front Range!