Monday, June 17, 2013

The CCC and Recreational Areas in the Tucson Area

I recently wrote an article for the CCC Legacy newspaper, available to all members of this national organization dedicated to preserving and furthering the story of the CCC. Since the newspaper is only available to CCC Legacy members, I decided to excerpt parts of it on this blog. My article deals with all the recreational areas the CCC developed in the Tucson area. I'll post entries on each of the sites highlighted in the article. This week, it's the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum, and botanical gardens surrounded by the Sonoran Desert about 14 miles west of downtown Tucson. This indoor and outdoor museum has geologic collections, more than 300 species of native wildlife, 1,300 varieties of native plants, and the recently completed Warden Aquarium. 

Personnel from nearby CCC Camp SP-6-A in the 1930s built the Mountain House—two large adobe buildings with fireplaces and beam ceilings connected by a breezeway—at the site of the planned Tucson Mountain Park headquarters. They also built an electrical building and stable at the site. The CCC-built Mountain House structure was first used as a guest ranch and restaurant and later as an overnight retreat for church, scout, and other local groups.  In 1952, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was founded by William H. Carr with the support of his friend and the museum’s initial benefactor, Arthur Pack, a conservationist and editor of Nature Magazine. The Mountain House is now the entrance complex to the museum and houses a gift shop and exhibits; the stable is now used by the museum’s maintenance department.