Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to build a camp stove or fireplace

An email from a reader alerted me to the existence of a book entitled "Camp Stove and Fireplaces," by A.D. Taylor (1937), which my local library was able to obtain for me.  This publication by the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture served as a reference manual for participants in the CCC undertaking stonework.

It's a surprisingly comprehensive and sensible instructional book, illustrated by clear line drawings such as those above.  It does not discuss stuctures such as buildings, bridges, and walls - just the fire-related structures along trails and at campsites.  In an era when huge numbers of Americans were for the first time beginning to discover and explore the national and state parks, the book was written with a goal of producing campfire sites that would minimize the risk of forest fires, while blending the design of the structures into the natural landscape as attractively as possible.

I didn't realize the CCC provided this degree of formal training; I thought most of the skilled work was simply guided by "local experienced men."  This book may help explain some of the uniformity of structures that can be seen in parks across the country.

[Cross-posted from TYWKIWDBI].


  1. I am so glad to have seen this post. Several years ago I bought a house which is now 104 years old. In the back yard is a structure that looks a lot like these only it looks as if the fires go in either or both of two side boxes and a slate covers the middle one. I've wondered how it works exactly, and figured it was some sort of cookstove. I think the house isn't old enough to have had a kitchen dependency, so I'm curious about why this was built. I will do more research and see if I can figure it out. Thanks. Very interesting!

  2. BarelyKnitTogether, if you can get the book from your library, it had quite a few additional photos and diagrams, including I think some like what you describe.