From Preservation Issues, Volume 6, Number 1
Missouri Historic Architecture
Depression Era Park Rustic Architecture, 1933-1942
by James Denny
- Rustic park designs were intended to blend into their surrounding environments in both a natural and cultural sense; at their best, these designs appeared to be a natural outgrowth of their park settings.
- Buildings were simple in design and small in scale and intended to be practical and efficient. The construction was to be straightforward with "no faking."
- Colors such as warm browns were employed to subordinate buildings in their settings.
- Horizontal lines and low silhouettes were emphasized.
- The Park Rustic Style was applied to a variety of buildings and structures within local and state park settings including dining lodges, picnic shelters, tourist cabins, group camps, bath houses, comfort stations, restrooms, lookout shelters, entrance gates, stone bridges, and even park offices and administration and service buildings.
- Construction timbers and stone were obtained locally and were worked in a rough form reflecting native hewing, sawing, and dressing techniques.
- The handmade rustic look typically reflected the labor-intensive manner in which buildings and structures were erected - usually by large crews of enrollees of New Deal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Photo by Nick Decker The Dining Lodge at Washington State Park, built by black CCC workers in 1939, reflects the rustic park architecture design ideals of employing native materials in a rough form (in this case, local hand-worked stone) and reflecting the local cultural traditions. (Note the thunderbird carving below the chimney that comes from one of the the Indian petroglyphs located in the park. Detail [of photo in article titled: "CCC Company 1743: The Thunderbirds".])
All text and photos are taken from Preservation Issues
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Historic Preservation Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Editor: Karen Grace
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