01 November 2013

CCC stonework at Robert H. Treman State Park

Today's tour of the Robert H. Treman State Park (Ithaca, N.Y.) features photography by reader Flask Ehrlenmeyer, who was a contributor to the Watkins Glen post last month.

The Friends of the park provide this description of the Civilian Conservation Corps' activities:
"Company 1265, Camp SP-6, Robert H. Treman State Park, Enfield, NY was started up in May of 1933 with tents on platforms. By winter all structures were wooden, Army-style barracks and subsidiary buildings (garage, storage/supply bldg., officers' quarters and HQ bldg., latrine, shower house, infirmary, mess hall, recreation hall, pumphouse...and a covered boxing ring."
"During its first year Camp SP-6, Company 1265 won first place in inspection competition in NY State. It accommodated up to 200 young men, and had sports teams and evening educational programs. Men here did wonderful and still attractive work building bridges and trails in Enfield Glen, Taughannock Falls, and Buttermilk Falls State Parks, and took out flagstones from the creek bed above Taughannock Falls for use in stonework projects in many of the Finger Lakes State Parks of New York State. Some of the men stayed at Enfield Glen (now Robert H. Treman) State Park, while others were taken by truck to the other two parks mentioned above, for the day's work."
"Projects included building stone and timber bridges and retaining walls, constructing scenic foot trails, improving roads in the parks, grading, seeding, and planting trees"
"The Camp was the last to be disestablished in upstate New York, in 1941... The buildings were all sold and removed by the new owners, the land was deeded over to Robert H. Treman State Park, and the site is now an overgrown jungle with a concrete platform here and there under the vegetation, plus the circle of white-painted stones, mostly obscured, that surrounded the flagpole."

For once I'll just hush up and let Flask's photos speak for themselves.  There are dozens more photos in the Flickr photoset.

Wow, what a gorgeous park and awesome stonework.  For those who like me now have an insane desire to hike the park but live too far away from the Finger Lakes region to make a visit practicable, here is Flask's video tour of the stonework:

Flask is a long-time reader and commenter here at TYWKIWDBI.  Her award-winning blog is at Forever, Flask


  1. I used to go here often as we lived very close to it. It is a beautiful park and has a nice swimming area. We would sometime fish for small trout in the stream. It is really hard to beat all of the wonderful parks in the Finger lakes region of New York. It is something I miss very much now that I live in Wisconsin, although there are some great parks here as well.

  2. Nice video of a rather agonizing trek up the mountain. Would have loved to seen the occasional view to the side or down, though, just to see what's there.

  3. Amazing. You can't find that degree of vertical hike in the Midwest, sadly.

  4. Thank you for sharing... very interesting. I live in AZ and have never been to NY but I'd like to see this park if I ever do visit NY.

  5. I grew up in Ireland and good stonework to me was always associated with semi-slave labour during the famine years there in the 1840s. Your stonework blogs used to put me right off, but your enthusiasm for the subject is contagious and it is hard not to smile when you gush about this or that piece of work from the FDR era. You have won another disciple. Keep up the good work on one of the most intelligent blogs out there at the moment

    1. I'm sure that the work on the CCC projects was back-breaking and tedious and that some of the men/boys who worked on these projects must have wondered what in the world they had volunteered for when they first arrived at the camps. However, the opportunity to earn money and to build something that would last throughout lifetimes in such scenic areas and to have food enough to eat while doing it must have been an incentive to stay with it. No one made those men do this work, they chose to do it -- however, the economic times were certainly terrible, although admittedly not as harsh as the 1840s in Ireland.

      My own great-grandfather immigrated to America from Ireland I those famine years and worked as a miner in Park City, Utah, until his death in the early 1900s.

  6. I was just there a couple weekends ago: you can still tour the CCC campsite and the old gristmill. And there a ton of water features as well as the excellent stonework.


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