The South Mountain Conservancy sponsors free group hikes, which I’ve done before. It was a lot of fun the last time I went, but I kept asking these difficult questions about the history and origins of the area, and the hike leader kept telling me “man, you’ve GOT to go on Dave’s historical hike.”
Well, Dave’s historical hike was this weekend!
Dave Hogenauer is the conservancy’s official South Mountain Reservation historian, and he knows all sorts of things.
That bridge we’re sitting on was probably built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a public work relief program from 1933-1942, borne out of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The CCC was responsible for much of the construction required to turn the South Mountain Reservation from raw wilderness and tree lots and mill properties into a natural, publicly-accessible series of trails.
It’s a neat little hike, if you’re interested in that sort of thing (which I am)!