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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Franklin Lake Campground Shelter and Bathhouse (HP-PH photo, 1988)

Franklin Lake Campground Caretaker's Cabin (HP-PH photo, 1988)

Franklin Lake Campground Caretaker's Garage (HP-PH photo, 1988)

Franklin Lake Campground
National Forest Road 2181, Eagle River Ranger District
Nicolet National Forest, Forest County
Date of Construction: 1936

The Great Depression spawned optimistic government programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which offered employment to Americans while conserving the environment and encouraging recreation. In 1936, CCC and WPA workers gathered on a scruffy piece of logged off timberland to build the Franklin Lake Campground.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented innovative New Deal programs to improve the economy and the welfare of those most affected by the Depression. One such program was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a work program for unmarried men ages 17-24 whose families received relief. After enrolling in the CCC, the men received food, clothing, shelter, education, job training, and thirty dollars a month allowance (twenty five of which went to the man¿s family) in exchange for working on projects that helped to conserve the environment or to promote recreation. Over 75,000 men from Wisconsin worked on CCC projects. Another New Deal Program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), employed people in building projects that met public needs, but did not take jobs away from other workers.

CCC enrollees from Camp Ninemile in Vilas County worked with the National Park Service to create landscape, trails, roads, and campsites, while WPA workers from the Warvet camp in Vilas County constructed buildings. The campground includes 42 campsites, a picnic area, swimming beach, and ten buildings. The plan adopted Rustic style aesthetics blending manmade elements, such as trails and buildings, into the natural lakeside setting. The buildings' Rustic logs, stones, open porches, wide overhangs, and exposed rafters reflect the beauty of the landscape in which they are placed.

The Franklin Lake Campground is the largest grouping of Rustic style buildings in Wisconsin's National Forests, and is virtually unaltered. The campground is seasonally operated and open the public.

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