The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s most successful work programs of the Depression, training men and saving entire families. During its tenure, incredible public works projects from parks construction (as here) to reforestation and soil conservation were completed across the country. Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most famous of CCC accomplishments and its biggest project in Colorado. The CCC’s commitment is honored in the short video shown at the Red Rocks Visitor Center, which includes interviews with some of the Alumni.
The National Association of CCC Alumni (NACCCA) is an organization whose membership is rapidly dwindling these days. The surviving members of Mile High Chapter 7 were committed to seeing this, Colorado’s only statue honoring the CCC, placed at Red Rocks. Bill Benns, one of the men who actually worked on the Amphitheatre, died later that fall, but he did attend the ceremony. As of May 2013, sixty-one statues have been installed in all but 12 states and the District of Columbia. Most states content themselves with one or two, but Pennsylvania has the record, with six statues. This Colorado statue was the 27th statue to be placed.
The plaque on the monument reads:
Erected in 2004 by Chapter 7, NACCCA
in cooperation with the City and County of Denver.
Dedicated in honor of the 3 million workers
who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps
from 1933 to 1942 and to those members of
Co 1848, SP-13-C, Morrison, Colorado
who were the builders of this
Red Rocks Amphitheatre from 1936 to 1941.
Historical sidelight: This is the second of two memorials to the CCC to be placed at Red Rocks. The first was a plaque placed on a boulder overlooking the walkway to the top of the Amphitheatre back in 1988. Construction of the new Visitor Center (2001-2003) left it off to the side and out of sight. In about 2005, the original plaque was placed on a new boulder next to the statue above. This plaque is accompanied by a Denver Landmark medallion; the Red Rocks Amphitheatre was designated a City Landmark in 1973.
This earlier plaque reads:
RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
PRINCIPAL CONSTRUCTION BY CIVILIAN CONSERVATION
CORPS COMPANY 1848, SP-13C, MT. MORRISON, CO.
DEDICATED AS A MEMORIAL TO ALL WHO SERVED AT
MT. MORRISON AND TO THE 3 MILLION WHO SERVED IN
THE CCC NATION-WIDE, 1933-1942. THE CCC LEFT ITS
HERITAGE IN THE PRESERVATION OF AMERICA’S NATURAL
RESOURCES FOR ENJOYMENT BY ALL GENERATIONS.
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ALUMNI CHAPTER 7
IN COOPERATION WITH THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER.
JUNE 4, 1988
Don Bess, a dedicated member of Denver’s Chapter 7 and collector of CCC memorabilia, shown in photo above, wore his original CCC work uniform to the ceremony on Labor Day, September 6, 2004, at which the statue above was dedicated. During his enrollment, Don worked at a CCC camp near Meredith, Colorado, building the Chapman Dam.
Don died August 11, 2006. This page reminds us of our friends in Chapter 7 and our appreciation for their many accomplishments. For more information on the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado, visit Colorado CCC.org