Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat


March 11, 2006

Remnants of the New Deal

Growing up, history was not always a favorite subject. In high school, the history teachers were always coaches. My fellow classmates and I knew our goal for the hour was to listen to the lesson for about 5 minutes then one of us would divert the teacher’s attention to the football, basketball or baseball game from the night before. The rest of the time would be spent on a play-by-play analysis of the sporting event. Believe it or not, we all made it through the years with some knowledge of history.

These days learning about the past is a lot more fun than sitting in a classroom and is as easy as taking a trip to an Oklahoma State Park.

A number of parks were built as part of the Depression era New Deal program that was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The agency in the heart of this program was called the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Thousands of unmarried, and physically fit young men enlisted in the Corps and were sent to camps all across the United States, including Oklahoma, to learn a trade such as building structures, roads and bridges, planting trees and developing state parks. For their hard work, the CCC boys received a monthly stipend of $30. The workers kept $5 and the rest was sent home to help care for the families they left behind. The benefit of this program is still evident today in the detailed work that exists in our parks.

In western Oklahoma, Boiling Springs near Woodward and Roman Nose near Watonga are two of the original seven state parks built in the 1930’s as part of the New Deal.

Named for the natural springs that churn below the surface and “boil” up, Boiling Springs has deep roots in the CCC program. One of the original camps that housed the enrollees, Company 2822, was located nearby.

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