I got called for a random drug test today. First time in my 30+ year career. I think I passed. They do our tests at the Department of the Interior. It was a beautiful and unusually warm day, so it was a pleasure to walk over there. And the building is great.
It was built during the Depression and it has the WPA look. They did a good job of art. You can see my pictures of the frieze of bison and moose. They are made with Missouri marble.
The 1930s was the heroic age of conservation with the CCC and a general push to restore nature. It was a nadir for our natural environment. The dust bowl threatened a general ecological collapse. Our forests were decimated and everywhere nature was in retreat. Of course, it is easy to look back with confidence now that we know the outcome, but but despair was easier back then. FDR described himself as a farmer and a forester. He took personal interest in conservation. I recall hiking in forests planted by the CCC, crossing bridges built by the WPA and enjoying art sponsored by the Federal Arts Projects. My father was in the CCC, so I always imagined young men like him planting the trees and making the paths.
The Depression was a hard time and the dust bowl maybe the worst hard time, but that period was the crucible of what became the modern United State. What was forged in the Depression was hardened and tested in a world war. The world our fathers – my father – built was a great gift. My generation is running out of time to live up to their example. We will not soon see their like again.
Anyway the building is a thing of beauty and a thing of beauty is a joy forever. They built for the ages.