This self-guided walking tour will inform you about what this land once was, and how it came to be a State Park. Before you begin your journey, take a few minutes to read the introduction below. *Printed tours can be located at the State Park. This tour is presented by the New Germany State Park and Friends of New Germany.
The Old Dutch Settlement, Village of New Germany - Earliest records refer to this land as the “Old Dutch Settlement”. It is not known when the name was changed, but when the first Post Office opened in 1883, it was referred to as New Germany. Like many rural sections, the exact boundaries of the New Germany village have never been specifically defined. Central to this area were the mills. The first is believed to be the Swauger gristmill and sawmill. Several homes, a doctor’s office and a general store soon were built at this location, serving farmers and residents of the New Germany area. The New Germany Post Office was closed in 1927.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
- The early 1930’s was a dark time in American history. With the Great Depression in full swing, millions of hard-working Americans found themselves unemployed and unable to provide for their families. In an effort to create jobs, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt developed a new program in 1933, called the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In addition to creating jobs, the purpose of the CCC was to help restore the nation’s struggling natural resources. The CCC recruited young, unemployed men ages 17 to 25 to live and work in camps supervised by the U.S. Army. These young men—nicknamed “CCC boys”—went to work building parks, restoring forests, planting trees, fighting forest fires, and restoring watersheds across America. Between 1933 and 1942, the CCC provided jobs for over three million Americans.
The Local CCC Boys
- One of the nation’s CCC camps was located in the area that is now New Germany State Park. In the spring of 1933, approximately 125 “CCC boys” arrived at the camp, ready for work. For the first year, the “boys” lived in army tents, while they worked constructing the barracks, mess hall, and other buildings for the camp. Much of the camp was constructed in the winter months, despite bitter cold temperatures, heavy snowfall, and icy conditions. Once they finished building the camp, the “boys” went to work on a number of projects at New Germany and the surrounding area.
The Development of New Germany State Park
- A top priority for the local CCC camp was the development of recreation facilities, which would later become the foundation of New Germany State Park. When the “boys” began their work at New Germany in 1933, the park did not exist –there were no cabins, pavilions, picnic areas, or parking lots. There also was no running water. By 1940, the “CCC boys” managed to transform the area into a popular recreation destination. Without the CCC, New Germany State Park would not exist as it is today.
Begin Your Tour!
Now that you’ve learned some basic information about New Germany’s past, you’re ready to begin your tour of the present-day park! As you follow the instructions and admire the work of the CCC, search for the answers to complete the crossword puzzle on the last page.