31 October 2013

CCC stonework at Riverside State Park [Washington]

Reader Lloyd Stanley recently visited Riverside State Park (northwest of Spokane) to photograph some of the CCC legacy there.
I was interested in comparing the CCC's work at Riverside State Park to those that you have featured in your blogs, so I made a recent visit to the park. This park is located about six miles west of Spokane, WA and borders the fast moving Spokane River. The river flows from Lake Coeur d' Alene in Coeur d' Alene, ID and empties into the Columbia River miles above Grand Coulee Dam.

Obvious from these photographs, there is a stark difference in the construction techniques used here as compared to those used at Gooseberry Falls and others that you have presented in the past. Also, a lack of grounds grooming at Riverside somewhat troubles me, perhaps management prefers the appearance of a natural environment however.
Lloyd's point about the variation in techniques is quite valid.  My understanding is that there was little in the way of central governance of the individual projects except perhaps for the standard residence buildings a the camps.  For the stonework I believe he CCC hired local stonemasons as supervisors/teachers, so likely the style differences reflect those regional (or personal) variations.

The wall at this building -

and in this picnic shelter -

- appear to be almost mortarless, but true mortarless construction requires consummate skill probably beyond that to be expected of the CCC enrollees, and I believe would not likely be used for load-bearing walls like the one above (typical mortarless walls would be simple property-boundary fences such as are seen throughout New England).

By contrast, the photo at right of the two-sided cookstove in the shelter shows mortar that has been slathered on with more enthusiasm than skill - almost certainly a modern repair of a deteriorating structure, applied with a desire for efficacy rather than aesthetics.

Finally, Lloyd's photo of the iconic pedestrian bridge at the state park serves as a reminder that Civilian Conservation Corps participants did much more than stonework, creating a wide variety of projects designed to improve the park experience for generations to come.

Thank you Mr. Stanley.  Next week Flask is going to give us a tour of the stonework at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca.

1 comment:

  1. My father taught me how to rock climb at Riverside State Park. I recall crossing the old pedestrian bridge (I think that's a newer bridge now) and scrambling up the "bowl and pitcher" rocks when I was about eight. Good times.


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