Foundations in this area mark the site of a CCC Camp which was operated by the United States government from 1939 to 1942. This camp included a number of buildings: A dozen large barracks officers quarters, mess hall, recreation hall, swimming pool and support bunkers. Young men between 17 and 20 years old worked on range projects and road developments primarily along the old Pony Express trail, the buildings were disassembled at the beginning of World War II. The green rock in the area is a volcanic tuff that is common to the Simpson Springs area.
The Leeds CCC camp opened in October 1933 under the direction of the Dixie National Forest Service on the site of an existing ranger station. Leeds, a town of less than 200, more than doubled with the opening of the camp. Two hundred young men from all over the country now resided and worked at Camp #585. Townspeople were relunctant at first about the impact the camp would have on local life, but support grew as the CCC camp clearly provided a boon to the struggling economy of Leeds. The community became even more accepting as the men worked on local projects, like a swimming pool, in their off-duty hours.
Built in 1933, the Leeds Civilian Conservation Corps Camp is significant as perhaps the best remaining example of a CCC camp in Utah. These camps were typically built of relatively temporary frame construction, and the surviving buildings and features such as the stone terraces at the Leeds camp present a unique, if somewhat limited, view of these important facilities. The economic impact of the Great Depression was especially severe in Utah where unemployment averaged 25 percent during the 1930s and was once as high as 36 percent. Because of the pressing need for conservation work, such as flood control, water resource development, etc., in the arid climate of southern Utah, the CCC work projects were of great importance locally.
Approximately 250 men were housed in frame barracks that were located to the southwest with other buildings such as a mess hall, library, and showers. The remaining stone structures are but a few of those originally built. The men were typically from out-of-state and served in the CCC for 9 to 12 months. Temporary remote “spike” camps were established near many of the actual construction projects. The Leeds CCC Camp was closed in 1942, and most of the frame buildings were removed before 1950.
Located at 90 West Mulberry Lane in Leeds, Utah and added to the National Historic Register (#93000062) March 4, 1993.
Leeds Historic CCC Camp
In the depression year of 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated the Civilian Conservation Corps. This program provided much needed employment for the nation’s youth 18-25 years old. The men had to complete the 8th grade, and have 3-4 family members dependent on their paycheck. The men received $30.00/month of which $25.00 was sent home to their family.
The men at this base camp developed the Oak Grove Campground, built bridges and constructed roads from Leeds to St. George. They were instrumental in preserving and protecting forests, waterways and other natural resources. But the real benefit was that it gave these young men hope, self respect, and a new start in life.
Our task today is to preserve and restore this Utah CCC camp site. Your donations will be used wisely. For more information on other local CCC camps: www.wchsutah.org
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed a camp near the town of Callao, north of Great Basin Park. From their base of operations in the camp, CCC workers constructed a road over Sand Pass, erosion terraces, campgrounds, fences, and reservoirs.
The Lost City Museum occupies a little knoll just south of Overton. This region was once a westernmost outpost of the Anasazi, the Ancient Ones, and the museum exhibits one of the most complete collections of artifacts of the early Pueblo Indians in the Southwest. The exhibit begins with the mammoth hunters of the Desert Culture 10,000 years ago, then continues through successive phases of Pueblo culture as their settlements grew up along the river courses where they farmed. They built irrigation canals, and homes like hives of mud and sticks. Most of their structures were modest, but some were immense and complex. The largest found at “El Pueblo Grande de Nevada” — Lost City — had 94 rooms.
Twelve hundred years ago their flourishing villages stretched up the Virgin and the Muddy Rivers, with El Pueblo Grande de Nevada dominating the peninsula at the joining of the rivers. Five hundred years later they had abandoned their homes and farms and gone.
The exhibits continue with the Paiute people who still live in the area, and with the Mormon farmers who were the first of the present migratory wave to arrive from the east.
In addition to the exhibits, and the store selling nice examples of Native American workmanship, a small Pueblo residence cluster was constructed on an original foundation as a CCC project during the 1930s. It is as exact a replica as governmental hands can build, and as long as you don’t climb on the fragile tops of the structures, you can crawl inside and see life from the Anasazi perspective.