On top of Sandia Peak is a rock house built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Coming out of a government prolonged Depression, the CCC was created to provide relief to unemployed men by the U.S. Congress and F.D.R.
During a short decade, over 300,000 young men got a place to stay, food to eat, and a small salary for working on public projects. They upgraded services in rural areas, built and upgraded National Parks, helped build Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge, gained dignity in hard times. This program was one of the more popular out of Roosevelt’s New Deal but it was shut down, unfunded, when World War 2 provided more grim employment possibilities.
The rock house, which would make Fred and Wilma Flintstone a nice vacation home, is perched on the edge of Sandia cliff with a million dollar view of Albuquerque. To the west is the Rio Grande river. To the north is the Sandia Indian Casino and golf course. In the middle of town is an eight story bank building at San Mateo and Central, the original Albuquerque skyscraper. To the south is Sandia Labs that engineers weapons and conducts weapons research, and Kirtland Air Force Base, storage home for nukes.
This afternoon there are scattered hikers and curious on the promontory. The rock house is a mile and a half hike from the visitor center and tram and there are small pockets of snow left in shaded areas by fallen logs or clusters of granite boulders.
Unemployment is still with us, a stubborn reality.
Finding men and women to join the CCC would be difficult these days.
Picking up your check at the mailbox is much easier than stacking stones.