Ocmulgee National Monument staff and friends celebrated the park’s 75th anniversary on Saturday, December 3rd, three weeks early due to the holidays. Ocmulgee National Monument was established on December 23, 1936 by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The park invited descendants of local residents who helped establish the park and descendants of CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) workers and past employees. Among the guest were two surviving CCC members who work here in 1938 and 1939, cleaning pottery that was recovered here during the archeology dig.
Ocmulgee National Monument was the site of the largest dig in America’s history during 1930’s with 800 people working at one time. The project recovered 2.5 million artifacts. The excavations were under the direction of Dr. Arthur R. Kelly of Harvard University. Dr. Kelly’s daughter was present for the celebration.
The celebration took place at the park’s visitor center, which was constructed in the 1930’s by WPA (Works Progress Administration) workers and CCC workers. The presenters were Southeast Regional Director David Vela, Superintendent Jim David, Bill Stembridge, who represented Senator Saxby Chambliss, and Macon Mayor Robert Reichart, all of whom spoke on the rich history and culture the park has to offer to the area and to the country. Ocmulgee National Monument has 17,000 of continuous human history, which makes it unique to the National Park System.
Certificates were given out to the honorees who helped establish and preserve the park in the 1930’s. After the presentation there was a cake-cutting and photographs taken of the honorees. Park staff also presented guided earth lodge tours to visitors and honorary guests.
The park will be celebrating again on the actual anniversary date with guided earth lodge tours, a presentation and a cake-cutting.