Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
The Department of the Interior was the first building in Washington, D.C. authorized, designed, and built by the Roosevelt Administration. Construction began in April of 1935 and was completed in December of 1936 - a record time for the building of a federal structure of its size and complexity.
Plans for a new building to contain the principal offices and agencies of the Department were realized during the first term of Secretary Harold L. Ickes. When Ickes was sworn in on March 4, 1933, as the 32nd Secretary (1933-46), the Department had outgrown the old Interior Building (now the General Services Administration Building), between E and F Streets and 18th and 19th Streets, NW.
Even with offices in 15 additional buildings around Washington, D.C., employees were overcrowded and morale was low. Acutely aware of problems resulting from rented offices scattered throughout the city, Ickes undertook the task of finding a more suitable arrangement.
In November 1933, President Roosevelt gave Secretary Ickes permission to take over the soon-to-be finished Interstate Commerce Building in the Federal Triangle. However, this required an Act of Congress. Since that seemed highly unlikely, FDR Recommended that funds be appropriated for a new building to be specifically designed and constructed to meet the requirements of the Department. In 1934 the Administrator of Public Works, with the approval of the President, allotted $12,740,000 for a new Interior building. Three sites were considered: the first was on the Mall facing constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets, NW (today, the site of the Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution): the second was a cluster of small lots on the east, west, and north sides of the old Interior Building; and the third was just south of the old Interior building and Rawlins Park.
On March 21, 1934, the third proposed site just south of the existing structure and Rawlins Square was selected. This plot, including the area between 18th and 19th Streets and C and E Streets, NW represented one of the few double-block sites in the city where an intervening street (D) could be eliminated for development.
Waddy B. Wood, a prominent Washington, D.C., architect was selected to design the new Interior Building. Mr. Woods's work was concentrated in a rapidly growing city; his designs centered on the historic styles; and his philosophy was one that disdained attempts against the traditional as forced and wasteful.