Established in June 1933, Boulder camp SP-2-C was one of the first “state park” camps established in Colorado and about the 25th overall, according to available records. The initial company to occupy this camp was Company 1813, which was followed by Company 809 in October 1933 and by Company 802 in June 1935. The Colorado State Archives lists about 165 men who were assigned to this camp. Although 29 Colorado counties are represented in the list, 42% of the enrollees were from Boulder County.
The Boulder camp turns out to be two; a little confusing, so let’s take it a step at a time.
Company 1813 was organized at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in the spring of 1933. They were immediately shipped to Boulder, where they occupied Camp SP-2-C during the first period (May-November 1933). On November 15, 1933, they returned to Oklahoma and occupied Camp SP-7-O at Davis, OK. Their brief activities in Colorado are apparently unrecorded.
Company 809 was organized at Fort Logan, CO, but occupied Camp NP-1-C in Estes Park for the first period. They moved to Boulder on November 15, 1933, and spent the winter at Camp SP-2-C. In May 1934, they moved to Camp SP-5-C, where they stayed about a year before moving to Camp NP-7-C, a “tent city,” in Grand Lake.
The site of SP-5 was about a mile uphill from the original location of SP-2. When Company 809 moved there, the camp designation was changed, as described below. Camp SP-2 (at the site formerly known as SP-5) was located “on the Flagstaff Highway adjacent to the Chautauqua grounds, Boulder, Colorado.”
“We believe this is the only instance in the history of the CCC in Colorado that a camp has been moved from one campsite to another and retained its campsite designation upon arrival at the new location. At least the term SP-5-C was obliterated and the designation SP-2-C was made, which it has retained until the present time.”
Among NACCCA Chapter 7 memorabilia we found several photos of the Boulder camp, though which location is not clear. The first presented here shows a view of the camp in winter, with the foothills behind it; the second, some of the kitchen crew outside the mess hall. (If you can identify anyone in this photo, please contact us.)
During their tenure in Boulder, the enrollees of Company 809 were “received very graciously by the citizens of this college town.” In addition to “bank sloping, riprapping, landscaping and general forest clean-up” along the highway to Flagstaff Mountain, they also constructed its amphitheatre. At the end of the enrollment period in October 1934, “the Flagstaff amphitheatre and the Boy Scout cabin were completed. Appropriate ceremonies were staged and the amphitheatre and cabin were formally turned over to the City of Boulder.”
Among Boulder’s advantages, the men enjoyed staging minstrel shows in Macky Auditorium and active leisure sports teams, including softball, tennis, horseshoes, basketball, and boxing. “With this background of work, sports and useful leisure activities, it is no wonder that all men disliked to leave Boulder on June 15, 1935… Those twenty months at Boulder, Colorado, were sufficient to prove to the local citizens and those in command of our company, the possibilities of a CCC camp located so that enrollees could participate in educational activities of this college town.”
The records for Company 802 indicate that the company pioneered CCC work, arriving at their first camp in Lake George, Colorado, in early May 1933, even before it was built and when the national program was barely up and running. They moved to Camp SP-5-C in mid-October 1934 and moved to SP-2-C the following June (1935). [From the timing, it seems clear that the two camps had switched designations.]
The men considered Boulder “a Garden of Eden” after six months of alpine seclusion at Rand, Colorado, and took full advantage of its cultural opportunities. Many finished grade school and high school; some even accumulated a year of college credit. With virtually every member participating in educational activities, the camp was informally dubbed “College Camp.” Again, it is reported that:
“The conduct of the enrollees in the town and the work which they accomplished was of such character that soon the citizens of Boulder began to realize what a valuable asset to a community a CCC camp could be.”
The work of Company 802 involved continued improvements on Flagstaff Mountain, including construction of stone guardrails, picnic tables, public shelters, latrines, and hundreds of miles of fences. They also worked on road improvements, timber thinning, and eradication of “tree blights.” In October 1935, Company 802 relocated to Camp NP-1-C in Estes Park.
All quotes above are from: History of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado, Summer 1936, compiled by L.A. Gleyre and C.N. Alleger.