History of the Mini-Wakan State Park

In 1933, President Roosevelt signed legislation establishing the Civilian Conservation Corps as a means to put up to 500,000 unemployed men to work during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  To implement this plan, the Army was placed in charge of providing housing, clothing and meals for the enrollees in the CCC.  The National Park Service was to provide work sites and tasks for the young workers to complete.  These workers were to be paid $30 per month, with $25 of this pay being sent home to their families. 

In 1933 and 1934 young men from towns in northwest Iowa were recruited to form Company 778 of the CCC.  In 1934 they constructed the shelter house on 12 ½ acres of land purchased by the community and established as Mini-Wakan State Park on the north shore of Big Spirit Lake.  They constructed other amenities also, including a “grade road”, a picnic and parking area, stone gate pillars and extensive rip rap along the shore of Big Spirit Lake.

Although the shelter building was used frequently in its early years, maintenance was neglected due to lack of funding and as a result, the building has deteriorated significantly over the years except for its well constructed stone walls. 

Currently, we are trying to collect stories of the CCC Company No. 778, Milford, Iowa. If you or someone you know had a relative who worked on the Mini-Wakan State Park, please contact Joe Ulman. We'd like to hear from you!

Click here to download a roster of Company No. 778
(.doc 156KB)    


Spirit Lake Protective Association
P.O. Box 51 Spirit Lake, IA 51360