Hardworking Traditions

5/1/2024 to 5/31/2024 | Bennett Spring State Park | Lebanon, MO

You are invited to come out to Bennett Spring State Park in May to witness and learn about the legacy of Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1772.

Note: This is technically not an event, as you are welcome to enjoy this experience any time of year.

The people of the Ozarks have historically been known for their hardworking ethics, and the tradition of giving their best continues today. Bennett Spring State Park received a huge benefit when the United States park system went through its most significant period of change and development. In 1933, under the direction of President Franklin Roosevelt, Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps. That fall, the men of Veterans Company 1772 of the Civilian Conservation Corps came to Bennett Spring State Park. The entire group of 200-250 members had served in the First World War. Before the Great Depression, many of them had been schoolteachers, preachers, laborers, farmers, clerks or salesmen.

During their time at Bennett Spring State Park, the men of Company 1772 bunked in wooden barracks in a camp operated by the Army and worked on park development, which was planned and supervised by the National Park Service. From November 1933 to December 1937, Company 1772 completed hundreds of projects, including quarrying stone, laying telephone lines, digging sewers and building park structures. The group built the dining lodge, the gauge house, the original hatchery, a shelter house, and the arched stone bridge across the spring branch, along with cabins, trails, roads. In 1985, the historic nature of the park's CCC structures was recognized with the addition of two listings to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the park’s nature center has a composite map of Bennett Spring State Park between 1933 and 1937 that shows CCC projects and buildings. In addition, the public can take a stroll through the park and see these structures free of charge any day of the year. The park concessionaire continues to rent out three of the original CCC cabins, although these cabins have been upgraded and modernized, and the park as a whole is currently undergoing upgrades as it enters its 100th year.

Bennett Spring State Park will have its 100th anniversary celebration on Oct. 5, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The celebration will feature a variety of activities, including a portrayal of a CCC worker by Michael Busekrus, manager of Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site. For more information about the celebration, call the Bennett Spring nature center at 417-532-3925.

To learn more about the history of Bennett Spring State Park, visit the park or check out this video.

Bennett Spring State Park is located at:

26250 Highway 64A, Lebanon, MO | 417-532-4338