Saving CCC Outhouses
Note: The following post is an edited summary of a report received in 2014 from Grant Houston, editor of the Lake City newspaper Silver City World. He notes that his interest and appreciation for CCC architecture was ignited as a result of the tour of the Morrison CCC camp several years earlier. Apparently we never received photos of this project, but we’re including a few from Denver Mountain Parks files as examples.
By Grant Houston
A while back I mentioned I’d located two 18′ long, 7′ wide rustic-style log CCC outhouses which had been saved from demolition in the 1960s and put up on blocks in a virtually inaccessible area at 30-Mile Resort, a mile or so below Rio Grande Reservoir on the Upper Rio Grande River in Hinsdale County. I had discussions with Rio Grande National Forest officials and received permission that one of the outhouses would be donated to Hinsdale County Museum and moved to the Lake City museum after we decided how the structure might safely be moved.
On October 31, Hinsdale County Historical Society worked with Hinsdale County Road & Bridge Dept. to hoist one of the outhouses onto a flatbed, strap it into place and trundle it over both Spring Creek Pass and Slumgullion Pass to a concrete slab which had been prepared on the grounds at Hinsdale County Museum. The other CCC outhouse remains at 30-Mile Resort with plans by Rio Grande National Forest to relocate and restore it at its original location in the adjacent 30-Mile Forest Service Campground.
We’re planning to restore the outhouse as an outdoor display at the museum highlighting Hinsdale County’s Depression-era economy, efforts by the CCC in the county, and the beginnings of rustic style architecture which is now so prevalent in these mountain communities. The outhouse had two-over-two windows, and there are remnants of a snowflake-patterned window glass originally installed. Only a few shards of the original glass remain and [we’re hoping] to obtain window glass similar to this original pattern. The outhouse is in darn good condition for its age— we’ve researched and believe it was constructed assembly-line fashion at the South Fork CCC camp about 1940, then disassembled and re-erected at the 30-Mile Campground. Log outhouses from the South Fork camp were sent all over the state, an extant and identical example is at Seed House Campground near Steamboat Springs.
Photos from Denver Mountain Parks, perhaps similar to the restored outhouse in Hinsdale County.