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Raccoon Creek State Park Recreation District

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1935–1937, 1939–1941, Civilian Conservation Corps. PA 18

Raccoon Creek was planned as a Recreation Demonstration Area by the National Park Service in an attempt to reforest and preserve exhausted timber and farmland and provide underprivileged city dwellers, especially children, opportunities for outdoor living.

These 6,909 acres of wooded parkland in southwestern Beaver County are dotted with campsites accessed by gravel roads. Eight administrative and service buildings adjacent to PA 18 include the park office, a conference building, storeroom, carpenter shop, blacksmith shop, repair shop, garage, and open shed. The standardized, prefabricated utilitarian structures were built to serve the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers on a temporary basis. The nearly 120 log buildings built by the CCC between 1935 and 1941 are west of PA 18. All are in their original locations in groupings illustrating prewar ideas of family camping. The hand-worked log and stone construction recalls America's pioneer past, but influences from Bavarian and Swiss chalets and the camps of the Adirondacks are also evident. They have new asbestos-shingled roofs, or new chinking and mortar.

Group Camp No. 1, with its unique waneedged siding and log construction, was featured in Albert H. Good's Park and Recreation Structures, a 1938 National Park Service publication. This camp's fifty buildings were designed to hold 120 civilian campers and are the oldest and most architecturally interesting. The logs are salvaged telephone poles sharpened at the ends and laid on a stone foundation. Gable roofs are standard, and the larger unit cabin and lodge have massive stone chimneys. These units are not used or maintained. While seemingly random in plan, they were laid out with careful consideration given to shade, safe water supply, vehicular access, and minimal damage to the environment. The central administrative unit is located at the top of the hill, with four smaller cabin groupings in the woods below.

Camp No. 2 consists of forty-five buildings arranged around a central administrative unit with four smaller camps around it for 120 civilian campers. The gable-roofed buildings are wood frame with rough, wane-edged siding and stone chimneys on the larger buildings. Some board-and-batten siding and rows of multipaned and double-sash windows offset the horizontality of the siding. Camp No. 3, the smallest of the older camps, contains one administrative unit and two unit camps with twenty-two buildings designed to accommodate 56 civilian campers. The cabins, unit houses, and shower houses are clapboarded or board and batten and have gable roofs. The main lodge has a brick chimney.

In 1945, the National Park Service turned the Recreation Demonstration Area over to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, at which time it was renamed Racoon Creek State Park.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Raccoon Creek State Park Recreation District", [Georgetown, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-BE37.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 158-159.

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