Monday, February 28, 2011

The C.C.C State-by-State: District of Columbia

In my introductory post for this series I noted that I planned to rely heavily on Perry Merrill’s summary of benefits to the states in his book Roosevelt’s Forest Army and I’m sticking to that plan, especially in the case of CCC work in the District of Columbia, which is difficult to research on a good day.

For all of its seeming geographic insignificance, the District of Columbia (“DC”) was worthy of two CCC camps according to Merrill and an astounding 11,470 DC men were given employment as a result of the CCC (to say nothing of the many, many politicians who managed to keep getting reelected to at least some degree because of their votes in favor of funding the CCC). A partial statistical breakdown of CCC accomplishments in DC include construction of 20 bridges, 47 camp stoves and fireplaces, 94 table and bench combinations and over 76,000 linear feet of pipe, tile lines and conduit for flood control.

As was already mentioned, specific information regarding the work of the CCC in the District of Columbia is difficult to come by. The CCC Legacy Camp List does not include the District of Columbia, or Alaska or Hawaii. The list does indicate that DC was located in the Third Corps area along with Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.

Merrill refers to two specific CCC work projects in DC: the National Arboretum and Rock Creek Park. At the moment the website for the National Arboretum contains just one passing reference to the CCC, in an article about botanist Oliver Freeman. (You can see that article here.) There is a reference to the National Arboretum in Chapter 5 of the National Park Service Administrative History of the CCC. It seems that a company of black enrollees was selected to march in President Roosevelt’s 1937 inaugural parade. As for Rock Creek Park, you’ll find an all too brief reference to the CCC in the Administrative History of Rock Creek Park. Indeed, it’s brief enough that I’ll quote it at length here:
A Civilian Conservation Corps contingent then occupied the site (Camp Good Will), designated Camp NP-14, Rock Creek Park. Before and during its use of the area, the CCC performed a range of improvements in the park and Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. Its enrollees cleared the creek channel and stabilized its banks with riprap, planted trees and shrubs, built more than two miles of bridle path with log hurdles for jumping, and constructed an addition to the Park Police lodge, which had been built with a $13,500 public works allotment on Beach Drive below Joyce Road in 1936.

Believe it or not, the Annual Reports do list enrollment figures for the District of Columbia, so given a lack of other detailed information on the work of the CCC in Washington, D.C., I’ll post the monthly enrollment figures for 1937 and 1939.

The 1937 Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work listed the monthly enrollee totals for the District of Columbia for fiscal year 1937 as follows:
July 1936: 845
August 1936: 755
September 1936: 656
October 1936: 850
November 1936: 811
December 1936: 753
January 1937: 1,008
February 1937: 908
March 1937: 680
April 1937: 856
May 1937: 776
June 1937: 704
Average: 800/month

Two years later the numbers aren’t vastly different. The 1939 Annual Report of the Director the Civilian Conservation Corps listed the total number of CCC enrollees who enrolled in the CCC from the District of Columbia as:
July 1938: 822
August 1938: 778
September 1938: 700
October 1938: 858
November 1938: 804
December 1938: 735
January 1939: 916
February 1939: 892
March 1939: 645
April 1939: 853
May 1939: 809
June 1939: 661
Average: 789/month

So, in fiscal year 1937, an average of 800 CCC enrollees hailed from the District of Columbia on a month-to-month basis. In fiscal year 1939 that monthly average slipped slightly to 789 enrollees per month, and for some reason January was the enrollment high water mark both years. I’ve noted elsewhere in this series that CCC enrollment figures ebbed and flowed in response to a number of factors; for example in areas where annual crops were gathered, it is often found that local enrollment in CCC camps dropped off right about the time that workers were needed to bring in that year’s harvest. It’s intriguing to consider why enrollment in Washington D.C. suddenly spiked in January of 1937 and 1939.

Certainly, the National Arboretum seems to have been the primary CCC work site (the camp was designated NA-1) in the District of Columbia and you’ll find a complimentary few paragraphs are devoted to that work in the 1942 Annual Report of the Civilian Conservation Corps (fiscal year 1942). Here are the details from that report in a section titled Plant Industry and the CCC:
Two CCC camps were assigned to the Bureau of Plant Industry. One of these, within the District of Columbia, since 1934, has been doing preliminary improvement and construction work for a national arboretum. The other at Cheyenne, Wyoming, started in 1935, has been working at a federal horticultural field station.

The national Arboretum is located in Northeast Washington just off the Bladensburg Road. The CCC company did a large amount of permanent work, all essential to the main purpose of the Arboretum. This camp came to the Arboretum in 1934 and was closed on December 15, 1941.

Much of the Arboretum land is in an early stage of development, and the camp contributed very substantially in this basic development work. Construction of roads, drainage, water systems, and fencing have been of primary importance. The fencing of the entire tract of some 400 acres with strong, high and permanent wire fence, with concrete curbing, was one of the outstanding CCC jobs. Five pithouses and a combination heating plant and potting shed were constructed by CCC labor. Important landscape projects have been the construction of three ponds and extensive grading in certain areas. Much soil perperation (sic) and planting of trees and shrubs was done. At this particular stage in the development of the National Arboretum the CCC work was decidedly a major contribution.

Given the glowing summary of the CCC’s work at the National Arboretum, it seems a bit sad that their current website doesn’t include any history on camp NA-1. Perhaps as we approach the 80th anniversary of the creation of the CCC in 2013, the folks at the National Arboretum will discover some of their own history and share it with the rest of us.

(Perhaps it is a commentary on the lack of available information on the work of the CCC in D.C. that there are no maps or photos of CCC work there that I have been able to track down. I’m sure they are out there somewhere.)

Monday, February 21, 2011

The C.C.C. State-By-State: Delaware

The state of Delaware was situated in the 2nd Corps area along with New Jersey and New York. In Roosevelt’s Forest Army, hidden about halfway through his rundown of CCC work in Delaware, Perry Merrill tosses out a unique factoid that sets Delaware apart from all other states and territories. Basically, Merrill notes that Delaware was the last state to get CCC camps. Evidently, the purchase of just over 1,000 acres for the Redden State Forest cleared the way for establishment of CCC camps so the first Delaware camp wasn’t established until October 1933 during the second enrollment period. That first camp, Camp S-53-D was quickly occupied by Company 2233V, company of World War I veterans who were moved from a project in nearby Vermont. So, while the total available information about the CCC in Delaware may be limited, there will always be that one interesting statistic: Delaware was the last state to have CCC camps.

(Now, here’s a question to ponder. It has long been thought that CCC camps were numbered in the order that they were established within each state. Thus, the first camp to be established in Delaware would be S-1-D, or so one would assume. Why was Delaware’s first camp numbered “53”? I’ve no idea but thought it would be an interesting question to toss out there.)

The State of Delaware has a scanned image of typewritten song lyrics penned by an enrollee at a CCC camp in Lewes, Delaware. The website notes that Delaware’s CCC camps were located in Lewes, Magnolia, Leipsic, Georgetown, Slaughter Beach, Frederica and Wyoming and that one of the main projects of the CCC was construction of drainage ditches for mosquito control.

There is one blog entry about the CCC at the State of Delaware’s blog site and you can view it here. It’s a neat little piece about mosquito control.

Merrill notes that the maximum number of CCC camps to operate in Delaware was 8 and that all but one (the aforementioned Camp S-53-D) were soil conservation and mosquito control camps. Even for its small size, an average of 5,382 Delaware men were given employment because of the CCC.

If we compare Merrill’s camp total against the Annual Reports for fiscal years 1937 and 1939 we find that between July 1936 and June 1937 Delaware had 1 state forest camp, 4 mosquito control camps, 2 agricultural engineering camps and 1 military reservation camp for a total of 8 camps. For the same period between 1938 and 1939 Delaware only had 4 CCC camps, broken out as follows: 1 state forest camp, 1 biological survey camp, and 2 agricultural engineering camps.

Delaware’s overall specific project totals (cited in Merrill’s Forest Army) include:
Trees Planted: 274,000
Channel Cleaning/Flood Control: 12,682,774 square yards
Forest Stand Improvement: 692 acres
Mosquito Control: 52,874 acres

In the state forests of Delaware, CCC enrollees worked at establishing forest boundaries through surveying and marking, construction of truck trails, timber salvage, collection of seedlings, reducing fire hazards and reforestation. A section of forest called the Red Lion Tract was donated to the state of Delaware in 1930, but it wasn’t until the arrival of the CCC that work was begun to reforest the acreage with loblolly pine, shortleaf pine and Scotch pine.

The Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work for fiscal year 1937 lists the monthly totals for enrollment in Delaware as follows:
July 1936: 485
August 1936: 437
September 1936: 336
October 1936: 405
November 1936: 387
December 1936: 369
January 1937: 421
February 1937: 408
March 1937: 319
April 1937: 334
May 1937: 285
June 1937: 254
These monthly totals reflect the number of young men who enrolled in the state of Delaware, not the total number of CCC boys working in the state of Deleware.

If we drill down a bit deeper into the state-by-state numbers in the 1937 Annual Report we’ll find that Delaware gained the following improvements between July of 1936 and June of 1937:
Vehicle bridges: 2
Sewer lines: 1,183 linear feet
Field planting/seeding: 33 acres
Fire hazard reduction (“Road & Trailside”): 6.7 miles
Fire hazard reduction (“Other”): 293.0 Acres
Mosquito control: 7,234 man days

The CCC Legacy maintains a camp listing and the entry for Delaware is reasonably short. The CCC Legacy list shows the following companies operated in Delaware on the dates indicated:
Co. 1224, November 1933 at Lewes, DE, Camp P-51
Co. 1224, April 1936 at Lewes, DE Camp MC-51
Co. 1226, November 1933 at Milford, DE, Camp P-51
Co. 1226, April 1936 at Milford, DE, Camp MC-52
Co. 1293, January 1936 at Georgetown, DE, Camp S-53
Co. 1295, July 1935 at Dover, DE, Camp MC-54
Co. 2213V, July, 1935 at Ft. DuPont, DE, Camp Army-1
Co. 3220, September 1935 at Georgetown, DE, Camp D-2/SCS-2
Co. 3221, October 1935 at Clayton, DE, Camp MC-55
Co. 3222, October 1935 at Wyoming, DE, Camp D-1
Co. 3269C, April 1938 at Dover, DE, Camp BS-1

The camp/company listings at the CCC Legacy website are simply representative and have been taken from the various camp strength listings for dates throughout the lifespan of the CCC.

The February 3, 1940 issue of Happy Days reported the death of a Delaware CCC enrollee from Company 3220, hit by an automobile. The microfilm image is poor; his first name was Dante and his last name looks like Corbyons.

The map image was taken from Stan Cohen's The Tree Army and highlights added to make it easier to read. To read the initial entry in the State-By-State series, click here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The C.C.C. State-By-State: Connecticut

Before we start, if you’re interested in going back to the initial post in the State-By-State series, click here. You’ll get some notion of the intent of this series and the background on where most of the statistical information is coming from.

Connecticut is a small state and as such the average number of total camps that worked there is small at just 13 according to Merrill in Roosevelt’s Forest Army. In 1937 the total stood at 17 camps, which sorted out thusly: 13 CCC camps were on state forests, 3 CCC camps were on private forests with a single CCC camp assigned to a state park. The existence of these camps meant more than 30,000 Connecticut men received work as a result of the CCC, including some 28,447 junior and veteran enrollees and 2,223 non-enrolled camp personnel.

The 1937 Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work includes a state-by-state monthly breakdown of the numbers of enrollees by state. Connecticut’s enrollment for fiscal year 1937 shaped up like this:
July 1936: 3,842
August 1936: 3,571
September 1936: 2,433
October 1936: 3,122
November 1936: 2,891
December 1936: 2,718
January 1937: 3,090
February 1937: 2,907
March 1937: 1,920
April 1937: 2,378
May 1937: 2,143
June 1937: 1,887
Remember that these monthly totals reflect the number of men who enrolled in the CCC in Connecticut on a monthly basis, not the number of enrollees actually working in Connecticut month-to-month.

For the roughly $20.7 million spent on CCC work in Connecticut, the state gained 123 bridges of all types, 9 new lookout towers and over 1,000 acres of public camping and picnic grounds, among other improvements. Also according to Merrill, every CCC camp in Connecticut was named after a prominent person on either the state or national level.

There’s a very interesting point about the CCC buried in Merrill’s description of work in Connecticut. He notes that the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) law did not make provision for construction of roads, the Forest Service referred to them as “truck trails.” Construction of such “truck trails” would be an important part of CCC work, not just in Connecticut but nationwide.

For a very recent CCC Resource Page post on the CCC at Natchaug, click here. Since that post was made, I’ve found out little about the CCC bridge over the Natchaug River.

Author Marty Podskoch has created a terrific website devoted to the CCC in Connecticut. To see a video of Mr. Podskoch giving a presentation on the CCC in Connecticut, click here.

Perry Merrill’s rundown of CCC work in Connecticut refers to the 1936 dam break above Hartford and the subsequent flooding. Merrill notes that “immediate help by CCC enrollees cleaned out 2,950 buildings and over 800 other structures.”

The 1936 flood was clearly a significant event in Connecticut history and there are ample resources online if you’re interested in more background. Connecticut History Online has a nifty few pages devoted to the flood of 1936 and the Hurricane of 1938. One photo listed with the 1936 flood information is particularly interesting and captivating because the caption purports it to be a photo of National Guardsmen deployed to help with the flood fight. For my money, those look an awful lot like CCC boys. Sadly, the page doesn’t make any reference to the response of the CCC, though there is a reference to the WPA in the section on suggested further reading.

Use the search feature at Connecticut History Online to find two images related to the CCC: an image of Camp Robinson at East Hartford taken in 1935 (who knows, maybe some of those boys helped with flood recovery the next year) and an image of a covered bridge that the CCC helped rebuild. (I’ve cited the copyright data for the photo of the flood response crew used here - above.)

Jump over to Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection website to track down a reference to the exact location of Camp Robinson in the Tunxis State Forest.

Connecticut has a museum dedicated to the CCC and to read a terrific blog post about this gem, click here. By all appearances this is a wonderful museum but sadly, I’m unable to find a website dedicated solely to the museum and its collection.

The book Civilian Conservation Corps: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography by Larry N. Sypolt offers up some tantalizing references to both primary and secondary source documents relating to the CCC nationwide and the entries for Connecticut are no exception. Dedicated and resourceful researchers will want to track down Austin Foster Hawes’ article entitled "The C.C.C. Makes Better Men and Forests in Connecticut," published by the State Forester in 1935. Also of interest: Mary E. Pasco’s article “Connecticut Improves Her Trout Streams: Civilian Conservation Corps Inaugurates Pioneer Work in Developing an Important Recreation Asset, published in the February 1934 issue of American Forests.

Connecticut is the smallest state thus far in our State-By-State rundown of work of the CCC across the United States. In looking at the map and searching for data and pictures, I’m reminded of a disparaging argument often made by revisionist historians regarding the CCC. It’s been argued – though less and less lately – that the CCC benefited the western United States to a greater degree than the eastern United States. I’ve always countered that, since most of the public domain is out west, most of the needed work was naturally in the western U.S. Furthermore, I’ve always pointed out that while more work may have been accomplished in the west (where it was most needed – see previous argument), a lot of the enrollees who performed that work out west came from cities, towns and villages in the eastern United States, consequently the allotments sent home to families didn’t end up in western communities but in eastern cities, towns and villages. You just have to look at a map of Connecticut with the ten CCC campsites highlighted to know that there couldn’t have been enough work to sustain a program like the CCC in Connecticut to the same degree it could be kept busy in Wyoming, Montana or California. One might argue that had it not been for the state forest system in the eastern U.S., the CCC would have accomplished little or no forestry work in this region. (In contrast, the vast tracts of USFS acreage in the west created infinite opportunities for the use of CCC labor.) Perhaps this theme is one we’ll revisit as we explore the work of the CCC in other eastern states.
For those of you keeping track, this is state number 7 in the State-By-State series. We'll look at the Delaware next. If you’d like to view a previous entry in the State-By-State series, I’ve added each new state name as a label so that it will be listed in the sidebar, alphabetically along with other labels used in this blog. As always, I look forward to input and hope you’ll post comments if you have something to share or feedback concerning how you found this blog or how you used the information posted here.

Image credits: As with all the State-by-State posts, the state map was taken from a larger map published in Stan Cohen's Tree Army. I simply highlighted the camp locations to make it easier to read. The photo of the flood fighting crew is from the Connecticut Historical Society and the photo of Camp White is from Cohen's Tree Army, where it is credited as a USFS photo.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The C.C.C. State-By-State: Colorado

The history of the CCC in Colorado has a very personal feeling for me because it was in Colorado that my grandfather worked as a U.S. Forest Service foreman for the CCC at places like Waunita Hot Spring, Norwood, Delta, Gardner, Idaho Springs, San Isabel and Monument. It was an interest in learning more about grandpa’s work that led me to an interest in the larger history of the CCC.

So, when I quote Perry Merrill’s statistics regarding the work of the CCC in Colorado, there is a good degree of pride for me in knowing that grandpa helped stack up some of those numbers for the history books. Merrill notes in Roosevelt’s Forest Army that in June 1937 (for example) there were 38 CCC camps in Colorado divided among the technical services thus: 10 National Park Service camps, 10 Soil Conservation Service camps, 6 National Park Service camps, 5 State Park camps, 4 Division of Grazing camps and 3 Bureau of Reclamation camps. My grandpa was among 5,303 camp officers and supervisory staff to work in CCC camps in Colorado that year. Specific work accomplished in Colorado included 577 impounding and large diversion dams, 2,000 miles of truck trails and minor roads and insect pest control on over 3,000,000 acres.

The Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work for fiscal year 1937 includes a chart of enrollment numbers divided by state of enrollment. The monthly enrollment numbers for Colorado between July 1936 and June 1937 look like this:
July 1936: 3,428
August 1936: 3,078
September 1936: 2,173
October 1936: 3,249
November 1936: 3,115
December 1936: 2,978
January 1937: 3,805
February 1937: 3,609
March 1937: 2,395
April 1937: 3,264
May 1937: 2,994
June 1937: 2,708

Naturally, forestry work figures prominently in the story of the CCC in Colorado, but other significant CCC projects in the Mile High State include work in Colorado National Monument, Mesa Verde National Monument and in Red Rocks Park outside Denver.

For an exploration of the work of the CCC in Colorado National Monument, visit their online Administrative History – specifically Chapter 4. The December 30, 1933 edition of Happy Days reported on the work of CCC enrollees to help in the recovery of 9 Civil Works Administration workers who were killed in a landslide at Colorado National Monument on December 12th. You’ll find a detailed account of the event in the 2008 book With Picks, Shovels and Hope: The CCC and its Legacy on the Colorado Plateau by Wayne K. Hinton and Elizabeth A. Green. Though no CCC enrollees were injured in this tragedy, it is chilling to know that only two days earlier, CCC enrollees had been pulled off that particular part of the project because they lacked the masks required to protect them from the rock dust.

For a previous CCC Resource Blog post regarding the book New Deal Days: The CCC At Mesa Verde, click here. The work of CCC enrollees at Mesa Verde ran the gamut from tough labor constructing park infrastructure to delicate work constructing dioramas for the museum exhibits.

The CCC Legacy held their annual reunion at Denver's Red Rocks Park in 2009. Much of the original camp remains, in part because it was quickly occupied by the military shortly after its stint as a CCC camp was complete. There is an impressive exhibit in the amphitheatre visitor center that includes terrific photos of the work done by enrollees from camp SP-13-C. The main exhibit panel reads in part:

Red Rocks Amphitheatre was the Civilian Conservation Corps’ largest and most ambitious project. A crew of about 300 young men at any one time lived in barracks near Morrison and worked on the theatre from 1936 to 1941, with help from the National Parks Service and Works Progress Administration. They laid 10 boxcar loads of cement and put down 90,000 square feet of flagstone quarried at Lyons, Colorado. The physical structure of the facility, as well as all the finished terracing and stonework, was built by hand, without the help of any machines.

On a personal level, I’ve explored more of the history of the CCC in Colorado than perhaps any other state with the possible exception of Arizona. Most of what I have learned has come as a result of searching for information on the camps where my grandfather, William “Bill” Rutherford worked as a U.S. Forest Service foreman. Along the way, I learned a lot of other stuff about what the CCC did in Colorado.

There is perhaps no greater primary source document on the CCC in Colorado than the book History of Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado, Summer 1936, which is basically a District Annual or yearbook that gives details on all the CCC camps working in what were then called the Littleton District and the Grand Junction District. And while the book is a treasure to folks looking for details on CCC companies in Colorado, it’s also a boon for anyone looking for histories of CCC companies that were formed in or worked in the 8th Corps Area because it contains a list of individual company histories, giving their mobilization date and location and the places they worked. (Admittedly, there are discrepancies in some individual histories when they are compared to information gathered through detailed research, but if you’re seeking information on a company that worked in Colorado, you can’t do any better than starting here. I’ll post scans of those pages here at the bottom of this post for your reference.)

I’ll close this entry in the State-By-State series by sharing the text of a memorandum that was posted at the Red Rocks CCC camp outside Denver in 1937. In welcoming new and visiting enrollees, I don’t think Lieutenant Neely could have done any better in his choice of encouraging words; they’re a decent set of guidelines even today.

August 2, 1937
Company Memorandum:
For the information of all New Enrollees and Enrollees on detached service with this company, the following is issued for your guidance.
You are welcome.
1. The camp policy is, “A square deal to all.”
2. We have but few rules – observe them.
3. Your problem is our problem.
4. This is your camp; be proud of it.
5. Cooperation and getting along is our Motto.
6. Your health and comfort are our chief concern.
7. Recreation is considered necessary.
8. Your privacy and rights are respected.
9. Respect the privacy and rights of all hands.
10. Help us maintain clean Barracks, clean Grounds and a smart appearance.
11. The Camp Commander always has time for your “Problem”.
Signed: H.W. Neely, 1st Lt. USNR, Commanding
+ + +
Some 75 years later I believe Lieutenant Neely's philosophy lived in the form of many enrollees, camp staff, overhead and military officers and their daily dealings with their fellowmen and I'm proud to let the record show that my grandfather William Rutherford was one of them

(above) Foreman Bill Rutherford with his crew, Norwood, Colorado. (below) the CCC camp at Idaho Springs, Colorado.

(below)Individual Company histories from the 1936 Colorado District Annual:

(Sources: The Colorado state map is taken from Cohen's Tree Army. Images from Colorado National Monument and Mesa Verde are from the book With Picks, Shovels and Hope. The contemporary image of the camp at Morrison, Colorado and the text of Lt. Neely's letter are from the Red Rocks visitor center exhibit. The company histories were taken from the 1936 District Annual. The image of the Idaho Springs CCC camp is from the Colorado State Archives, item number 30255 FF-6.)