Crystal Springs Dam and Camp Shelter

The Crystal Recreation Area, located in the Ouachita National Forest, included two structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1935, the stone dam and log picnic structure were added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1993. The site is located on Forest Road 177 north of Norman (Montgomery County).

The shelter was constructed by CCC Company 741. The company was formed on May 1, 1933, at Camp Pike. The company completed numerous projects in the Ouachita National Forest and was stationed at Crystal Springs at the time of the project.

The dam is placed across Collier Creek and is constructed from fieldstone. The two-tier structure is about thirty feet long and one and a half feet wide. A pipe is located in the lower tier of the dam to control the flow of water. Behind the dam is a catchment pond that serves as a swimming area.

Downstream from the dam was the camp shelter. Constructed at the same time as the dam, the shelter was built from logs. Built on a concrete foundation, the rectangular shelter was open on all four sides. The north and south sides both included four log columns that supported a hipped roof topped with composition shingles. Low wooden benches connected each column on the north and south sides. The east and west ends of the structure did not include these benches, making entry easier from the ends of the building.

Several campsites, short trails, and a vault toilet are available at the site in the twenty-first century. The shelter was destroyed in 2016 when a tree fell on it.

For additional information:
“Crystal Springs Camp Shelter.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/MN0025.nr.pdf (accessed July 26, 2019).

“Crystal Springs Dam.” National Register for Historic Places registration form. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Office, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/National-Register-Listings/PDF/MN0024.nr.pdf (accessed July 26, 2019).

David Sesser
Henderson State University

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