Little Beaver Dam and State Park
Little Beaver Damand State Park are located in Raleigh County, near the town of Crows, WV. The first public dam in Raleigh County, it was constructed during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Backstory and Context
The land on which the dam stands was donated by Mrs. Carrie Morgan Wright of Cincinnati, Ohio and George H. Smith of Chillicothe, Ohio in September 1938. In July 1942, during the first month that the dam was operational, one death and one near drowning occurred at the lake before it was turned over to county officials. In the latter portion of 1942 the project was released to the Raleigh County Park Board and the 4-H camp was completed on an adjacent plot in 1953.
Although the 4-H club has existed since the 1930s, it did not get official land for camping and other activities until 1953. The forested land was cleared by volunteers and dedicated citizens, who built it to be a low-cost and low-maintenance facility. Even now, the site contains only a few permanent structures, including a dining hall and a women's cottage.
Today, the site features a picnic area, playground, almost 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, fishing in the lake, boat rentals and a 46-site campground. In March 1971 the area became Little Beaver State Park, which is now operated by the WV Department of Natural Resources. Over the decades, the dam, 4-H camp and state park projects have brought vibrant recreation and regional tourism to the immediate area, and remains a popular attraction in the 21st century.
Accessed April 17, 2018. https://wvstateparks.com/park/little-beaver-state-park/.
Jourdan, Katherine M. "Little Beaver Dam." National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination Form. West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, Charleston November 5, 1997