NATIONAL PARK STYLIN’
The stone cabins of Bastrop State Park appear to rise from the ground organically, as if germinated from seeds much like the loblolly pine surrounding them. Their native rock foundations, half buried and covered in a crust of lichen, give rise to fat chimneys, squat walls and long sloping roofs fit for a hobbit. While the architecture suggests Middle Earth, it’s actually a wholly American creation called the National Park style, developed in the early part of the 20th century and deployed by the Works Administration Program. The Program’s Civilian Conservation Corps hired young laborers from across the country to build structures, dams, bridges, and roads to enhance the natural beauty of our park system while providing employment for thousands of Americans. Bastrop State Park, a significant benefactor of the program during the 1930’s, acquired the cabins, a refectory, and handmade furniture along with structural improvements like culverts and bridges designed by architect Arthur Fehr and built by the CCC. Fehr followed a design principle developed by the National Park Service to enhance public lands using native materials and a style that promotes harmony with the natural surroundings. Today, Bastrop State Park holds National Historic Landmark status thanks to Fehr’s designs and the CCC crews’ hard work.