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Glimpses of Texas: Its Natural Resources and the Big Bend National Park Project (1936)

National Archives and Records Administration

Silent | 1936

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  •  Everything is bigger in Texas 
  •  Oil and gas deposits 
  •  Cliffside gas field and US Helium plant 
  •  Sulfur production 
  •  State park system 
  •  The Civilian Conservation Corps at work 
  •  “And so ends a short story of a vast state that abounds in Wealth, Beauty, and Romance.”  
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Produced by the US Department of the Interior, “Glimpses of Texas” gives a brief outline of the natural diversity and valuable resources found throughout Texas. The government film captures various parts of the state, including Amarillo, Big Bend State Park, and Alpine. Inter-titles combine with black and white images of Texas during the 1930s. The text describes oil fields, the US Helium Plant (Bureau of Mines), sulphur mines, and Civilian Conservation Corps construction in what is now Big Bend National Park.
The Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, was a national public work relief program established in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of the New Deal. The CCC hired unemployed, unmarried men between the ages of 17 and 25 from families on relief to complete various public works projects for the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior. Enrollees were organized into local camps overseen by the US Army, with some camps in Texas comprised of as many as 19,200 men during their peak. Young men from across the nation worked in the Texas camps and contributed to the state's projects, as assignment to CCC camps was random.
In Texas, the majority of the projects completed by the CCC were soil conservation and erosion control operations. Activities including distributing soil conservation information to farmers and making improvements to farmlands and forests. The CCC also contributed to the development of the Texas state park system; they established 56 parks, 31 of which remain operational today. Between 1933 and 1942 (when CCC operations ceased), approximately 50,000 Texans participated in the program.