The Pleasant Historic District, Chopawamsic RDA Camp 4 (Camp Pleasant Historic District) in Prince William County is an important legacy of two of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal initiatives, the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and the Recreation Demonstration Area (RDA) program, which sought to reclaim depleted natural resources including exhausted farmlands for use as public recreational facilities. CCC and Works Progress Administration laborers were tasked with the development of the RDAs.
In Prince William County, continuous occupation of lands in the watershed of Quantico and Chopawamsic creeks from the 18th to the early 20th century had thoroughly depleted the area’s natural resources by the 1920s and 30s, leaving it impoverished and making it a high profile target near to Washington DC for the RDA program. In mid-1934 development of Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area–the fourth-largest of 46 RDAs created nationwide—began and was largely completed by 1940, ultimately becoming Prince William Forest Park.
Camp Pleasant, begun in 1937 within Chopawamsic RDA, comprises a grouping of 39 contributing buildings, structures, and sites, which showcase designs that harmonize with the natural and man-made landscape, use indigenous materials, and promote a hand-crafted aesthetic. The landscape and structural designs are attributed to architects, engineers, and draftsmen employed by the National Park Service. These standardized structures provided shelter, education, vocational training, and other aspects of daily life for those enrolled in the CCC and WPA, where they earned $1 per day. Chopawamsic offered to residents of nearby Washington DC a place of hiking trails, swimming, campfire rings, lodges, crafts shops for group activities, a central dining hall/kitchen, latrines and wash houses, an infirmary, cabins for campers, and separate quarters for the staff. In 1942, when the public recreational facilities were complete and the U.S. Army inhabited Chopawamsic as a training base, the CCC program was disbanded.
Camp Goodwill Historic District (076-0131)
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark