May 1, 2019
DENVER, May 1, 2019 – Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver Parks and Recreation, HistoriCorps and the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation today celebrated the completion of Barracks #1, the first phase of restoration to activate the historic Mount Morrison Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp for adaptive reuse.
A National Historic Landmark, The Mount Morrison CCC Camp was home to hundreds of men who built Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre and other parts of Denver’s mountain parks system in the 1930s. The CCC was created under President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression to create jobs and protect forest and land across the United States. Fourteen of the original 15 buildings that remain on the site served as barracks, recreation hall, mess hall and other support buildings for the camp.
“Through this partnership with HistoriCorps, we’re creating a new space for all our residents to experience the outdoors just a short 40-minute drive away from Denver,” Mayor Hancock said. “Not only are we preserving a critical piece of our city’s history, we’re also providing educational opportunities for our residents and youth that aren’t available anywhere else.”
Denver Parks and Recreation and HistoriCorps are leading the camp’s preservation efforts by offering skills training to veteran’s groups, the unemployed and underemployed to renovate the lodges. When completed, these individuals will have new marketable skills, and the renovated area will be a place for outdoor activities, a conservation and educational center, and provide training opportunities focusing on preservation.
“Today we celebrate our partnership with the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation to restore the CCC buildings at the camp and with HistoriCorps who is working with young adults, teaching them skills to do the work,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Parks and Recreation. “I want to thank HistoriCorps and the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation for their conviction in realizing the potential of this space and the importance of preservation of these historic structures.”
In 1935, the camp housed approximately 200 men who spent six years building Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Today, the restored Barrack #1 is the new office of HistoriCorps, a nonprofit that provides volunteers with hands-on experience in preserving historic structures on public lands.
“To be a part of this initiative to rehabilitate and adapt this historic camp for use by ‘descendants’ of the original Civilian Conservation Corps is an honor and privilege,” said Towny Anderson, CEO and Executive Director HistoriCorps.
In addition to the work completed at the CCC camp, HistoriCorps volunteers restored iconic structures in four more Denver Mountain Parks: the Wellhouses in Little Park, Bergen Park and Fillius Park and the Chimney in O’Fallon Park.
The CCC camp is a unique piece of the history of Denver Mountain Parks and one of the few intact camps remaining in the nation. Financial assistance from the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation assisted in preserving the historic buildings that stand in the park near the base of the iconic amphitheater.
“The restoration of these buildings at the Morrison CCC Campus is the beginning of a rejuvenation of one of Denver’s important historic properties,” said Bart Berger, founder of the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation. “It is through our public/private partnerships that this adaptive re-use of a piece of Denver’s history will enable it to benefit our citizens and typify our legacy of leadership in the Denver Mountain Parks.’
The second phase of the project, which will include the rehabilitation and repurpose of Barrack #3, will be financed through the Elevate Denver Bond Program, city dollars and generous private funding partnerships.