The National Park Service added the Shawnee Organized Group Camp to the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District in 1985. The Works Progress Administration constructed the camp as part an effort to create recreational opportunities for people living in urban settings like Kansas City, Missouri.
The first section of the camp, Camp Redbud, was constructed in 1936 and the Kansas City Camp Fire Girls used it for their camping grounds. A year later, in 1937, the National Camp Fire Girls and the Kansas City Camp Fire Girls Council created plans for a second camp, which came to be known as Camp Shawnee. WPA workers were involved in the construction of both camps and the two camps came to be referred to simply as Camp Shawnee. The Kansas City Camp Fire Girls used Camp Shawnee as their official camp until 1970, when they established a new camp in Platte County, Missouri.
The buildings and structures in Camp Shawnee remain mostly the same as when the camp was initially started in 1936. The camp contained a Director's Cabin, which served as living quarters for the camp director, a dining hall with a kitchen and an infirmary to provide first aid for campers. The camp also contained serveral cabins to accommodate campers. Over time, some buildings have become unsafe and others have been demolished. Missouri State Parks have upated the restrooms and shower houses as well as the kitchen in the dining hall. Electricity has been added to the cabins; however, the rustic architecture and general theme of the group camp remain the same.
As a historic district, Camp Shawnee is a prime example of the WPA architecture that is reflective of the Recreational Demonstration Areas of the 1930s.
Today, church youth groups, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and Girl Scout groups continue to use Camp Shawnee for their organized group camps.