From the Ground Up - The Bend Magazine

From the Ground Up

Architects chose local materials for building at Goose Island.

Photo credit: National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a New Deal program to employ men from across the country during the Great Depression. Of the 97 CCC camps in Texas, 27 were dedicated to the development of state parks. Their work created 56 national, state and city parks, and 29 remain open as state parks today. Unemployed didn’t mean unskilled, and the men of the CCC built many structures that still serve visitors today. One of those sites, Rockport’s Goose Island State Park, could have remained overgrown, unpassable land without the work of CCC Company 1801. The men cleared undergrowth, planted trees, dug drainage, built structures and cared for the ancient “Big Tree” in 1934-35.

The men at the local CCC camp weren’t all locals, but they looked to a tried-and-true area method of construction when building Goose Island’s concessions (now recreation) building. They’d already covered muddy park roads in oyster shells, as was done in Corpus Christi until paving began in the 1910s. They later put those oysters to good use again by crafting shellcrete bricks from crushed shells and sand, just like had been done on the Texas coast since before Corpus Christi was even founded.

This choice of material fit perfectly with the CCC’s architectural style, which aimed to build buildings that blended in rather than intruding on their surroundings. Now, for nearly 90 years, the shellcrete crafted by these men has stood the test of time and continues to welcome visitors to Goose Island today.

Looking for more Corpus Christi History? Check out The Origins of Texas Hold’Em or A Look at the History of The Federal Building on Starr St.