The CCC Era

Under President Franklin Roosevelt, the depression-era "Work Relief Programs" provided jobs and money for men affected by the great depression through the Civilian Conservation Corps (or CCC). Their work is visible today at state and  national parks across the USA.

Three CCC companies worked at Clifty Falls State Park. Company 540 arrived in November of 1933 and left October 1935. Company 1543 left Turkey Run State Park and arrived at Clifty in October 1935. The last Company, 1597 started at Clifty in April 1936.

Their projects included roads and trails (new or redone), gatehouses, shelters, and drainage ways. They used many materials from what was available in the park and helped create an improved the outdoors experience for the public.

The following is a summary of the major projects in Clifty that are used in the park today and some that remain as vestiges of their labors.

North Gatehouse and Entrance

The north gatehouse at Clifty Falls was completed in 1935. 

South Gatehouse and Entrance

The south gatehouse was completed in 1935.

Stone Arch Bridges

Two stone arched bridges were  built by the CCC at Clifty Falls State Park. 

The bridge over Dean's Branch was finished in 1936 and replaced a trestle bridge that stood a bit further downstream.

The second bridge, also finished in 1936, crosses Little Clifty Creek well above the falls.

Both bridges have had work done on them over the years, more so the Little Clifty bridge.

Saddle Barn and Nature Center

The building housing the current Nature Center began its life as a saddle barn. The park had several riding trails at the time. The saddle barn, finished in 1935, was refurbished and dedicated as the Nature Center in 1981 after the1974 tornado damaged the original structure.

Clifty Shelter House

The CC built several shelter houses. Some were log-cabin style, others were stone. The location of the shelter in the black-and-white photo is not known but was likely completed 1935-1936. The color pictures are of the existing Clifty Shelter, which is the last known CCC shelter existing.

Lilly Memorial Outlook

Information suggests that the Lilly Memorial Lookout was completed in 1936 by the CCC. It contains a stone seat and memorial plaque. The area was the subject of a Boy Scout Eagle project rehab in more recent times. 


The former CCC pump house is on the banks of Big Clifty Creek across from Trail 8 at the north end. Information places its completion in 1936. 

It provided water for the old water fountain that can be seen at the trailhead of Trail 8 as well as for the and for the "latrines" (the Big Clifty restrooms), also built by the CCC.


Stone was used throughout the park by the CCC as walls, footings for foorbridges, storm drains, and soon. These are a few of them.

Water Fountains

The CCC ran new water lines and set up water fountains at several locations around the park. The vestiges of at least three of them remain.