To celebrate 70 years of serving literally millions of visitors at one of the most visited natural attractions in Texas, Garner State Park marked its anniversary Saturday, June 4, and commemorated the role of the historic Civilian Conservation Corp that helped shape the scenic Hill Country retreat located north of the town of Uvalde along the Frio River.
Dedicated June 1, 1941, the popular park—named in honor of Uvalde resident and former Vice President John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, who served during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential terms of 1933-41—will host a brief ceremony at the main concession building, site of the famed annual Garner Dance held each summer, beginning at 10 a.m. It will include speakers Gary Merritt, a Real County Judge, and park superintendent Rick Meyers, as well as special guests such as former CCC company workers.
“My dad talked about the CCC while he was working at Garner,” said MaryAnn Laughlin Abbott, a resident of Hondo, TX, and active volunteer and member of the park’s friends group, “and he said it was probably the best time of his life. My mother would go with her family when she was young to visit my cousin, who was also working at Garner at the time, and that’s where she met my dad. I went to the park with some friends in 1962, and that’s when I fell in love with Garner myself.”
In 1934, 478 acres were purchased and designated as the original park, which now encompasses more than 1,400 acres and accommodates some 350,000 visitors each year. CCC Company 879 worked at the park from 1935-41 improving roads, and building facilities such as cabins, staff quarters and offices, and infrastructure such as trails, water wells, picnic tables and benches—much of which is still in operation today.
For more information, contact Garner State Park at (830) 232-6132, or visit the web site at www.texasstateparks.org.