Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the grandest achievements of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC existed for nine years and three months and has remained one of the most popular of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. More than 3 million men went through the Corps between 1933 and 1942.
Company 1848, Camp SP-13-C, Mount Morrison, Colorado consisted of approximately 155-200 members. Each member was paid $30 per month. $25 of that amount was sent directly to their families. CCC veteran Walt Purvis of Aurora, Colorado recalled, “A dollar a day was good money then, because there were no jobs to be had, period. The money they sent home made the difference between my brothers and sisters getting shoes or not. By teaching us trades and skills and how to get along with other people, the CCC gave us a start in life” he added.
The amphitheatre project required them to remove 25,000 cubic yards of rock and dirt and used 90,000 square feet of flagstone, ten carloads of cement, 800 tons of quarried stone, and 30,000 pounds of reinforced steel.
The building of this theatre is not a steam-shovel job. The work is being done by man-power. After the excavation is finished most of the work will require skilled labor. Here the boys of the company will be repaid for the long hours spent with pick and shovel. The fellows will be given an opportunity to learn a trade from actually doing the work. Just a few of the jobs where skilled labor is required are: stone masonry, electrical engineering, cement and carpentry work, surveying, blasting and landscaping. The members of this company are not just working for a dollar a day for the Government—they are building an amphitheatre that will stand for centuries, and in generations to come this work will remain a symbol of advancement of the western culture of today… This amphitheatre will be an enduring monument to the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado for years to come.
—From History of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado, Summer 1936