Monday, March 28, 2011

The C.C.C. State-By-State: Idaho

One need only glance at a CCC camp location map to realize Idaho had a lot of CCC camps and a lot of those CCC camps were Forest Service camps. The Annual Reports also bear this out. For example, Appendix C of The Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work for fiscal year 1937 breaks down the average distribution of CCC camps by state and by technical service. Here’s the average for Idaho for FY1937:

National Forest camps: 33

State Forest camps: 5

Private Forest camps: 1

Soil Conservation camps: 5

State Park camps: 1

It should be noted that there is a discrepancy in this particular chart (Appendix C) in that the total number of camps listed for all services is 51 but the total number of camps in Idaho if you simply add up the totals for each service was 45. Likely this is due to the fact that the compiler or editor mistakenly listed the total number of Department of the Interior camps in Idaho as 7, when in fact the number should be just one (the sole State Park camp).

While we’re on the subject of camp types in Idaho, let’s look at the distribution of camps by service type for fiscal year 1939. Appendix H of The Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps for fiscal year 1939 breaks down Idaho’s CCC camp distribution like this:

National Forest camps: 30

State Forest camps: 3

Private Forest camps: 1

Soil Conservation camps: 4

Bureau of Reclamation camps: 4

State Park camps: 1

Division of Grazing camps: 10

In this case, the Annual Report seems to be without error, as the total number of camps listed for all services is 53, which matches the total listed individually.

Comparing the two years, we see that while the U.S. Forest Service and the state forest each lost camps, Idaho gained a total of 8 camps altogether, in large part due to the establishment of Bureau of Reclamation and Division of Grazing camps. And just what did Idaho gain from the CCC? Thankfully we’ve got Perry Merrill’s book Roosevelt’s Forest Army to turn to for some details, and the camp total seems to compare favorably with the available Annual Reports. Merrill notes that an average of 51 CCC camps operated in Idaho. The aggregate number of Idaho men who gained work as a result of the CCC was 28,074, which included 20,292 junior and veteran enrollees, 1,038 Indian and 6,744 non-enrolled personnel. Merrill also points out that 86,775 individuals from all states worked in Idaho between 1933 and 1942. This means of course that many of the CCC enrollees who worked in Idaho were brought in from other states.

Merrill’s list of work accomplishments indicates the CCC built 236 lookout houses and towers, 91 impounding and large diversion dams and that they strung just over 3,000 miles of telephone lines.

Let’s take a closer look at individual work accomplishments listed in the 1939 Annual Report. The list shows that, among other things, the CCC was responsible for the following improvements in Idaho during fiscal year 1939:

Vehicle bridges: 31

Garages: 10

Latrines and Toilets: 47

Lookout houses and towers: 18

Camp stoves and fireplaces: 68

Cattle guards: 202

And the report shows that from mid 1938 to mid 1939, the CCC spent an astonishing 20,286 man-days fighting forest fires in Idaho!

Comparing just one improvement type – construction of cattle guards – between 1937 and 1939, we might get a snapshot of what it meant to have an increase in the number of Division of Grazing camps between these two reporting periods. In fiscal year 1937 when there were no Division of Grazing camps operating in Idaho, the Annual Report shows that 30 cattle guards were constructed in the state. Two years later, with 10 Division of Grazing camps now operational, the number jumps to 202. (There was also an increase in the number of corrals constructed, with 7 corrals built by the CCC in 1937 compared to 11 corrals built in 1939.) Admittedly, these figures represent a tiny fraction of the statewide work done but comparing them from year to year helps us understand what it meant to have particular technical services working in a state. Fewer Division of Grazing camps in Idaho meant fewer cattle guards and corrals built in Idaho.

Comparisons like this are less useful in sizing up the number of man-days spent fighting forest fires. Recall that in the 1938-1939 reporting period, the CCC spent 20,286 man-days fighting forest fires in Idaho. Two years earlier, during the period 1936-1937, the CCC spent more time (26,020 man-days) fighting fires. This might be due to the fact that there were more forestry-related CCC camps in the state during the 1936-37 time frame (five more forestry camps operated in Idaho in FY1937 than in FY1939) but it might also be due to the fact that there were fewer fires to fight one year versus the other, or that crews were better trained two years later and thus fires were brought under control more quickly. What seems clear now is that over the lifetime of the CCC, the United States saw a steady decline in the numbers of acres lost to wildland fire, but that is a topic for another time.

The Federal Security Agency Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps for Fiscal Year 1942 includes some interesting and detailed summaries of CCC work projects that are often overlooked by current historians. The report includes a section entitled “CCC Camps and the Bureau of Animal Industry.” Turns out there were six Bureau of Animal Industry CCC camps scattered across the United States and one of them was located in Dubois, Idaho. The report explains that the Animal Industry stations were research facilities established for the purpose of finding better breeding, feeding and management practices for domestic farm animals and poultry. Referring specifically to the station at Dubois, Idaho, the report goes on to state:

"The CCC camps happened to come when the unusual assistance which they could give was sorely needed at several stations. For example, at Dubois, Idaho, a Bankhead-Jones Special Research project had just been added to this Bureau’s regular appropriation for sheep research. This made necessary a two to three-fold expansion in the research facilities at that station. This meant the opening up of additional land, construction of roads and trails, major extensions of the water and sewerage systems, and extensive landscaping around new laboratory buildings and dwellings. Not without such a unit as a CCC camp, bringing its special equipment and its own housing could it have been possible to equip this plant for the enlarged program so quickly with such small cost to the Government, or so smoothly and well."

You can access an online listing of Idaho’s CCC camps here. (The list is taken from the camp list at the CCC Legacy website.) You’ll note that the Bureau of Animal Industry camps were designated by the letter “A.”

The 1942 Annual Report also includes mention of Idaho CCC enrollees hired by lumber producers: “Sixty-eight CCC boys were hired from one camp in Idaho by a Boise company in four months and this company had over 500 former CCC’s on their payrolls at Pacific Island bases where the Japanese started hostilities in December 1941.”

In 1934 the American Forestry Association published a small book entitled Youth Rebuilds: Stories from the C.C.C. The book is a collection of personal narratives written by CCC enrollees across the United States and it includes a story entitled “The Next Ridge to the West,” written by Henry F. Vicinus, an enrollee in Company 1276 at Camp F-48, Clarkia, Idaho. In his life before the CCC, Vicinus was a newspaper reporter and his narrative is especially well written. Here are some excerpts from Vicinus’s story.
Vicinus wrote of his struggles before enrolling:

"Winter came and was little better. The old tuxedo was the first thing to be sold; then the wardrobe trunk, then the camera, all at ten per cent of their value, and finally – my God, what a blow! – the old typewriter. I was no longer a reporter! When “Bel” Hildreth hunted me up to tell me the local CCC quota of men was leaving the next day, he found me on a farm, with my last ragged clothing on my back, and that back nearly broken."

Concerning his time in a conditioning camp, Vicinus recalled:

"Camp Dix was a grand scramble. There was kidding, there was bullying, and each man developed his own little defense to it – some by excelling in the art of kidding and bullying, some by evading it with snappy comebacks, some by going “over the hill.” Never will I forget my nervousness when I first walked up to the orderly tent and suggested myself as a clerk. Nor will I forget the home-coming feeling I had when I first sat down to that little three-bank Underwood and started making rosters. There was something to work at, to occupy my mind, and to do well, looking forward to advancement… Neither will I forget the tense expectancy at the prospect of leaving…once we got the orders to leave for Idaho."

Finally, of his enrollment period in the mountains of Idaho, Vicinus wrote:

"There is, too, something purgative and expansive about the West. One only need stand by a huge tamarack or white pine, look over the valley below him, and gaze miles and miles away where the hazy mountains rise and fall like the waves of a giant ocean….to feel it…And now…it is time to go back to the old surroundings. I shall return not exactly as I left. I have conquered one world. Why should I cower from another?"

To read a section of the online history The Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps that deals with the 9th Corps area and work in Idaho, click here.

Larry Sypolt’s very useful book Civilian Conservation Corps: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography includes references to materials dealing specifically with the CCC in Idaho. In the section on the 9th Corps Area (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, California and Yellowstone National Park) you’ll see the following source materials listed:

“The CCC in Idaho,” by Judith Austin, Idaho Yesterdays 27 (Fall 1983).

“I’d do it again in a minute!” The Civilian Conservation Corps on the Salmon National Forest, by Michael Crosby, Salmon Idaho, 1997.

Outdoor Idaho. CCC in Idaho. Documentary film by Pat Metzler and Bruce Reichert, 1999.

The work of the CCC in Idaho was not without tragedy. The ruggedness of the country, the frequency of forest fires and the impetuousness of youth thrown together far from home, conspired to take the lives of enrollees in a variety of ways. The April 7, 1935 Edition of the Spokesman-Review reported the death of 25-year old Fred Hunter, an enrollee from Company 245, Chatcolet, Idaho. Hunter died of injuries received “when his motorcycle collided with the concrete rail of the overhead bridge near Lapwai…He was badly crushed.”

The Spokesman-Review also reported on the death of Oscar Kee, an enrollee at the Avery, Idaho CCC camp. 31-year-old Kee was run over and killed by a tractor in March 1935.

There were also instances of boyish exuberance leading to injury, as was reported in a June 1935 issue of the Spokesman-Review. Under the headline, “Bruiser in CCC Tucked in Jail,” the article states:

"Six months is sentence given youth who broke boy’s rib in “initiation.” Cortland Rockwell, 19, was given six months in jail here today by Probate Judge M.G. Whitney, on a charge of battery that developed from an “initiation” at the Ludlow creek CCC camp yesterday. Frank Falk, a rookie being initiated, suffered a broken rib and landed in the Fort George Wright hospital at Spokane when the rough play of the enrollees turned into something more than “monkey business.” He resisted and was set upon by the ringleaders of the “degree team,” bossed by Rockwell, it was said. John Machan, 18, held in the Kootenai county jail here overnight, with Rockwell, as a witness, was released after the trial, but Cecil Sowards, 18, also jailed as a witness yesterday, was held for further investigation."

Finally, the August 24, 1935 issue of the CCC newspaper Happy Days reported on the death of 19-year old Creath Cupp of Huntington, West Virginia, who was killed in a truck accident near Wallace, Idaho. Happy Days reported that Cupp was from Company 565. A photo of the accident site appeared in the Spokane-Review with the following caption: "One man was killed and more than a dozen were injured when the CCC truck shown here drove down a hillside on the Dobson Pass highway near Wallace early Sunday morning, while it was conveying a group of 24 CCC workers back to camp F-150 at Hawk Ranger station from their Sunday holiday in Wallace. The dead man was Creath Cupp, 19 of Huntington, W. Va. Excessive speed on the sharp turn is blamed for the tragedy."

Monday, March 21, 2011

The C.C.C. State-BY-State: Georgia

Georgia was situated in the 4th Corps area along with North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. The 4th Corps area was commanded by Major General George Van Horn Moseley, who wrote of the CCC: “Though I feel that all of the participating Federal departments – Agriculture, Interior, Labor, and War – have done a fine job, the credit for the wonderful reputation achieved by the Civilian Conservation Corps must go primarily to the lads themselves. I have never seen a finer group of young men. They have met their part of the bargain just one hundred percent, and they have reaped a just reward.” (Moseley's comments appeared as a preface to a 1935 District "E" Annual. It should be noted that Moseley's high opinion of CCC enrollees may not have extended to all enrollees. Salmond refers to him as a "quasi-fascist" and by inference we can assume he may not have been highly in favor of the recruitment of black enrollees into the CCC.)

The Federal Security Agency Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps for fiscal year 1942 includes the following detailed reference to CCC work in Georgia on page 48 under the heading Southern Region – Atlanta, Georgia. The entry states:
“Largely through the fire control improvements and facilities constructed by the CCC, it has been possible for the State Foresters in the Southern Region to provide fire control for millions of acres of privately owned timber lands that otherwise would have continued to suffer severe damage annually. At the beginning of the CCC program in 1933 there were about 47 million acres in the South receiving fire protection. By January 1, 1942, this had increased to 75 million acres.”

No doubt, Georgia garnered its share of important forest protection improvements in the southern United States as well as other valuable work by the creation of the CCC in 1933. Perry Merrill breaks out some of the work totals in his book Roosevelt’s Forest Army. For example, in Georgia, between 1933 and 1942, the CCC strung 3,638 miles of telephone lines, build 425,829 check dams and erosion control features, planted over 22 million trees and spent over 153,000 man-days fighting forest fires. Dependents living in Georgia received over $19 million in allotments from enrollees during that time!

As for the aforementioned forest protection work, the CCC erected 500-watt radio transmitters at two sites to improve communication between fire towers and fire crews. Additionally, the CCC built facilities at Timber Protective Organization sites established as part of a state program.

Merrill notes that the average number of CCC camps to operate in Georgia was 35 and we can compare this average against camp totals for 1937 and 1939. According to the 1937 Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work, in fiscal year 1937 a total of 40 CCC camps operated in Georgia, distributed as follows:
National Forest camps: 9
Private Forest camps: 10
Soil Conservation camps: 9
National Monument camps: 2
State Park camps: 6
Military Reservation camps: 4
In fiscal year 1939 the Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps reports that a total of just 27 CCC camps operated in Georgia, distributed as follows:
National Park camps: 3
State Park camps: 4
National Forest camps: 5
Private Forest camps: 5
Biological Survey camps: 1
Soil Conservation camps: 9
(It’s interesting to note that between 1937 and 1939 the title of the annual report changed to reflect the program’s change from being called Emergency Conservation Work to Civilian Conservation Corps.)

As for enrollment, the Annual Reports also list enrollment totals for 1937 and 1939 that provide a snapshot look at CCC enrollment in Georgia. Georgia’s monthly enrollment totals for fiscal year 1937 stack up like this:
July 1936: 12,299
August 1936: 11,605
September 1936: 9,941
October 1936: 12,350
November 1936: 11,706
December 1936: 11,150
January 1937: 12,125
February 1937: 11,675
March 1937: 9,752
April 1937: 10, 593
May 1937: 10, 182
June 1937: 9, 503

The Annual Report for fiscal year 1939 shows a noticeable drop in monthly enrollment in the state of Georgia:
July 1938: 9,250
August 1938: 8,906
September 1938: 8,013
October 1938: 9,179
November 1938: 8,942
December 1938: 8,540
January 1939: 9,060
February 1939: 8,773
March 1939: 5,684
April 1939: 8,949
May 1939: 8,693
June 1939: 7,958

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has a terrific page that lists CCC-built structures in the State Parks that you can still enjoy today. Click here to see the list.

There is a short paper on the history of the CCC in Georgia posted at the website of the Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy. Written by Betty van Dongeren in 2007, the paper seems to deal more with the overall history of the CCC with a few references to work in Georgia, but it includes a list of sources and some photos. You can view the paper as a pdf document here.

Racism in the CCC was not a problem solely in the southern United States, however in the South where Jim Crow laws held sway for decades even after the end of the CCC, the issue of race in the CCC is particularly powerful. John Salmond’s seminal work on the CCC, an online copy of which you can read here, includes a chapter titled “The Selection of Negroes.” Salmond makes particular reference to Georgia in the third paragraph of this chapter, writing: “Scarcely had selection [of CCC enrollees] begun, however, when reports from the South indicated that in that desperately poor region local selection agents were deliberately excluding Negroes from all CCC activities. Particularly deplorable were events in Georgia, which had a Negro population of 1,071,125 in 1930, or 36 per cent of the total state population. On May 2, 1933, an Atlanta resident, W.H. Harris, protested to the secretary of labor that in Clarke County, Georgia, with a 60 per cent Negro population, no non-whites had yet been selected for CCC work. Persons, director of CCC selection, immediately demanded an explanation from the Georgia state director of selection, John de la Perriere. The Georgia director blandly replied that all applications for CCC enrolment in Clarke County were “classed A, B and C. All colored applications fell into the classes B and C. The A class being the most needy, the selections were made from same.”

Despite further complaints from local groups, like the Atlanta branch of the National Urban League, officials in Washington preferred to remain outside the fray, with the hope that the situation would adjust itself, “without any apparent intervention from Washington.” But as it turned out, such a hands-off approach was not going to work over the long run and Director of CCC Selection Persons again followed up with the director of CCC selections in Georgia (John de la Perriere), this time by telephone. De la Perriere ultimately admitted that blacks were not being selected but denied it was on account of racism but rather, de la Perriere said that, “at this time of the farming period in the State, it is vitally important that negroes remain in the counties for chopping cotton and for planting other produce.” Persons knew better simply by looking at Georgia’s population statistics compared to enrollment of blacks in the CCC. Eventually it took a call to the governor of Georgia and a threat to withhold Georgia’s entire CCC enrollment quota to improve the situation; although one could easily argue that the issue of black CCC enrollment in the South was never fully resolved given that blacks were never represented in the CCC in numbers equal to their percentage of the population.

Ultimately, the experience of black enrollees in Georgia and nationwide, must be viewed through the prism of history and judged today as a series of small success that came about despite an overarching attitude of prejudice at the time. While the documentation records scores of vile episodes where blacks were denied the same opportunities in the CCC as their white counterparts, the record also reflects that local communities, in Georgia and nationwide, frequently embraced the all-black CCC companies that moved into their neighborhoods and often fought to keep them. For a longer, more detailed discussion of the African-American experience in the CCC, see the recent post over at Forest Army.

Larry N. Sypolt’s book Civilian Conservation Corps: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography includes a number of listings for material dealing with the work of the CCC in Georgia, including the following items:

“The New Deal and Georgia’s Black Youth,” by Michael S. Holmes in the Journal of Southern History 38 (August 1972), pages 443-460.

“The Civilian Conservation Corps and the State Park: An Approach to the Management of the Designed Historic Landscape Resources at Franklin D Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain Georgia,” a 1992 University of Georgia Master’s thesis by Lucy Ann Lawliss.

Mountaineers and Rangers: A History of the Federal Forest Management in the Southern Appalachians, 1900-81, by Shelley Smith Mastran, published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Washington, DC, 1971.

NAACP Legal File: Cases Supported, CCC Boys, 1938-1939, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Frederick, MD, University Publications of America, 1988. This particular resource deals with the NAACP’s involvement in the cases of three Black CCC enrollees charged with murder in Georgia.

To view a collection of photos related to the work of the CCC in Georgia, visit Vanishing Georgia, the Digital Library of Georgia. Once there, type in “Civilian Conservation Corps” in the search box and be amazed at what you find.

For an interesting page on Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the location of its CCC camp remnants, visit While you’re there, open the entire folder of waymarked CCC sites and you’ll marvel at the nearly 200 sites listed (to date). While we’re at it, here’s a link to the waymarking page for a CCC built bridge at Indian Springs State Park, Georgia. This website is particularly interesting and useful if you’re looking for CCC work in your region or neighborhood.

The December 16, 1933 issue of Happy Days reported the death of enrollee Alton Thrasher of Company 456, Robertstown, Georgia, in an automobile accident. The January 19, 1935 issue of Happy Days reported the death of Bill Bruner of Company 1414. Bruner was reportedly killed in a diving accident.
Sources: As with all the State-By-State posts, the map was taken from Stan Cohen's Tree Army. I highlighted the camp locations with colored dots for easier reference. The photo is of the Company 446 baseball team at camp D-92-G, Brunswick, Georgia and it also comes from the Cohen book. The Happy Days newspaper masthead was scanned from an original copy in my collection.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The C.C.C. State-By-State: A Progress Update

One-Fifth of the Way There
With last week’s posting of the Florida entry in the State-By-State series, we’re roughly 1/5th of the way through the U.S. states and territories. Now might be a good time for me to catch my breath, perhaps update the stated goals and purpose of the series and this may be a good opportunity to point out some changes that have already been made to the individual state entries already posted.

Statistics, Personal Narratives and Illustrations
Initially, I’d made it clear that I planned to rely heavily on the individual summaries of state CCC work found in Perry Merrill’s book Roosevelt’s Forest Army and I’ve done so. However as the postings have progressed, I’ve found that three Annual Reports in my collection are serving as a very useful set of source materials to supplement Merrill’s snapshot of state work. This has had the effect of making the posts a bit heavy on numerical statistics and lighter on individual camp accomplishments, which may not be a benefit to the casual reader, however I’m hoping that the more detailed camp totals, work statistics and enrollment numbers represent data that is largely unavailable to local researchers – especially to high school and undergraduate students – who may be seeking obscure statistical data for papers, reports or presentations. The sort of information that may be boring to most readers will be a boon to the occasional scholar who seeks to include such details in their work. As an extension of this, if you are a scholar who is doing research and you’d like to have scanned images from the Annual Reports that I cite in the State-By-State series, post a comment and let me know how to reach you and I’ll gladly do what I can to get the information to you. (I wouldn’t have called this a “resource” page if I hadn’t intended to share useful – if sometimes mundane – information.)

Another benefit to using numbers from the Annual Reports as companion data for the project information in Roosevelt’s Forest Army has been the ability to compare Merrill’s “snapshot” of CCC work against the “snapshot” of work shown in the annual reports for 1937, 1939 and to a lesser degree, 1942. The comparisons aren’t meant to validate or discredit Merrill’s numbers, but more to show trends in the program between 1933 and 1942. Merrill’s state work summaries typically list an average number of camps in a state, where the Annual Reports for 1937 and 1939 provide a more detailed breakdown of the camp totals for their respective fiscal year. An average is useful, but I hope that researchers will find it’s also useful to know if the totals for 1937 and 1939 are above or below the average cited by Merrill.

To offset some of the heavily statistical information in the individual posts, I’m working to include personal histories of CCC enrollees whenever possible, and will go back to add those personal histories to the state’s already posted when necessary. One great source of these personal narratives has been the book Youth Rebuilds, which was published in 1934. I’m also throwing in data on selected cases of CCC fatalities in each state as they become available.

Something else that I’ve found as I’ve worked through the first 10 state articles is that photographs aren’t always easily accessible or those photos that may be available are covered in copyright restrictions. I’m not in the habit of pirating images from other sites, so more than likely you’ll find that I include links to sites that have useful or interesting photos of CCC work in particular states, rather than lifting the images from those sites for use here at the CCC Resource Page. Ultimately, visitors here will have to choose whether or not they choose to use images found on linked sites. This issue has become more important to me lately, as I’ve seen some of my own work and images used on other sites without a proper citation (to say nothing of the fact that the user took the material without asking first). With this in mind, visitors here need to keep me honest, too. If you see images or references not properly cited or credited here at the CCC Resource Page, please post a comment explaining the problem so that I can remedy the situation.

Updates to Past Posts
Since starting the State-By-State series at the first of the year, I’ve revised just two entries: Alabama and Arkansas. The Alabama entry was updated to include more information regarding Robert Pasquill’s book The Civilian Conservation Corps in Alabama – specifically its lack of detailed references to racism in the CCC. The Arkansas entry was updated to include a better explanation of monthly enrollment figures. Additionally, I added a brief discussion of racism in the selection and deployment of black enrollees in Arkansas. In both cases, the new information on racism grew out of a post I did in honor of Black History Month over at the Forest Army blog.

To date, roughly two and a half months into this project, I’ve not had any comments posted regarding the State-By-State series, however it seems that visitor hits are higher lately on average. Please, if you enjoy something you see here, if something was especially helpful to you in your research, if you have questions or need greater detail, or if you wish to offer constructive criticism, please leave a comment and if you need more information, make sure there’s some way I can contact you. My goal with this blog is to create a resource for CCC researchers of all ages, to help grade schoolers, high schoolers and college scholars in their search for information on the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The C.C.C. State-by-State: Florida

In Roosevelt’s Forest Army, Perry Merrill notes that an average of 21 CCC camps operated in the state of Florida with an average distribution among the technical services as follows: 7 National Forest camps, 9 Private Forest camps, 1 Animal Industry camp, 1 Biological Survey camp and 5 State Park camps. Merrill also notes that just under 50,000 Florida men were given employment by the CCC including 45,887 junior and veteran enrollees, 101 Indians and 3,026 so-called non-enrolled personnel which included camp officers and supervisors.

We can compare Merrill’s overall average to numbers cited in a couple of Annual Reports to get an idea of how the camp distributions ebbed and flowed between 1933 and 1942. For example, the Annual Report of the Director of Emergency Conservation Work for fiscal year 1937 lists a total of 23 CCC camps in the state of Florida, broken out as follows:
National Forest: 7
Private Forest: 9
Animal Industry: 1
Biological Survey: 1
State Park: 5
So during fiscal year 1937 the number of CCC camps in Florida was slightly above the overall average of 21 cited in Merrill’s Roosevelt’s Forest Army.

Compare this to the distribution of 16 total Florida CCC camps as reported in the 1939 Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps:
State Park: 7
National Forest: 4
Private Forest: 4
Biological Survey: 1
So for FY 1939 Florida was below the average as reported in Merrill’s overall camp total. You’ll also note that the “animal industry” camp was disbanded some time in the intervening years and that work on private forest projects decreased. (It’s also interesting to see that the title of the Annual Report was changed to reflect the program’s name change from Emergency Conservation Work to Civilian Conservation Corps.)

So what exactly was the work of the CCC enrollees at Florida’s seemingly short lived animal industry camp? The Federal Security Agency’s Annual Report of the Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps for 1942 offers some insight into this type of CCC camp. According to the report, CCC camps were established at Bureau of Animal Industry sites located in Auburn, Alabama, Dubois, Idaho, Jeanerette, Louisiana, Beltsville, Maryland, Miles City, Montana and in Brooksville, Florida. The report describes the work of these camps in some detail:
These stations are research stations devoted to finding better practices in breeding, feeding, and management of domestic farm animals or poultry, and in disease prevention and control. All but one of these stations are located on tracts of land given to this bureau for experimental use. In all cases the land, buildings, and other facilities had to be adapted or newly planned for the best advantage of the research work. This is a costly process in cases of major field stations, and the temptation always has been to begin the livestock research work to which the station was dedicated before adequate or ideal plant facilities became available…The CCC camps happened to come when the unusual assistance which they could give was sorely needed at several stations…In short, through the unusual and able assistance of CCC camps at several of the major field stations, the Bureau of Animal Industry now has field stations better equipped for the research at hand, and therefore better able to give a good account of the money appropriated to it for livestock research work.

In the case of the Brooksville, Florida research station, the land for the facility was donated in 1932, prior to the establishment of the CCC, and according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture news story, the facility now covers about 3,000 acres and employs 20 full time state and federal employees. Given this explanation, it seems likely that CCC enrollees helped with setting up the facilities at the experimental station and once the site was up and running, Florida’s animal industry camp was no longer necessary; consequently we see the animal industry camp listed in the 1937 Annual Report but missing from the 1939 report.

Using the fiscal year 1939 Annual Report for monthly enrollment, the figures break out like this:
July 1938: 4,986
August 1938: 4,845
September 1938: 4,057
October 1938: 4,789
November 1938: 4,599
December 1938: 4,149
January 1939: 4,660
February 1939: 4,487
March 1939: 3,029
April 1939: 4,548
May 1939: 4,377
June 1939: 3,922
These are the monthly totals for enrollment in the state of Florida – not the total number of CCC workers working in the state each month.

The same Annual Report (FY1939) lists individual totals for work accomplished and in that listing we find that between July 1938 and June 1939, CCC enrollees in Florida installed over 222,000 square yards of stream and lake bank protection on one hand but only built six camp stoves or fireplaces. Other work completed within this wide range of accomplishments included:
Open ditches: 10,100 linear feet
Fighting forest fires: 6,754 man days
Educational, guide or contact station work: 2,312 man days
Excavation of earthen channels, canals and ditches: 62,618 cubic yards
Beach improvement: 6 miles

The Florida Park Service Alumni Association has a nice page dedicated to documenting CCC park staff. It’s a work in progress but clearly their dedication to the project shines through.

The Friends of Florida State Parks has a wonderful page devoted to the CCC on their website. Here, among other things, you’ll learn that the first CCC camp in Florida’s state park system was established at Highlands Hammock State Park in 1934.

Many folks, including me for a time, labor under the misconception that the World War I veterans killed in the 1935 hurricane were CCC enrollees when in fact they were assigned to several Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) camps in the Keys. (For an example, click here. I’m sure the author’s intentions are good in this case, but the article erroneously states that those killed in the Florida hurricane were CCC enrollees and that Robert Fechner was head of the CCC over the course of its entire lifespan, neither of which was the case.) Certainly the fact that the World War I veterans were FERA workers and not CCC enrollees doesn’t diminish the tragedy in any way and indeed there is a connection in that CCC enrollees helped with clean up and recovery of bodies in the days and weeks following the horrific tragedy. If anything, this long-standing misconception is simply a good illustration of how so many of the New Deal programs have gotten lumped together over time and it may support the claims of some who say the CCC garners some praise that should rightly go to agencies like FERA and the WPA. For a great, accurate account of the Bonus Army and the veteran’s FERA camps that grew out of that episode, read The Bonus Army: An American Epic by Dickson and Allen.

I’ll close out this account of CCC work in Florida with a mention of some CCC enrollees who did die while working in Florida. The December 3, 1933 issue of the CCC newspaper Happy Days reported that enrollee Michael G. Kovich of Company 295, Sumatra, Florida was shot in a nearby town. Kovich’s death is among the first 20 deaths reported in Happy Days during the lifespan of the CCC.

On May 19, 1934, Happy Days reported the suicide of an enrollee by the last name of Fraser at the District G Headquarters in Barrancas, Florida.

September 15, 1934 issue of Happy Days reported on the drowning death of Albert Oliva of Company 262 at Sebring, Florida.

Finally, jumping ahead in time, the January 13, 1940 issue of Happy Days reported on the death of James Devoe from Company 4453 at Deleon Springs, Florida. Enrollee Devoe was killed in an auto accident while on leave.

When we think back on the CCC and consider it’s broad scope and far reaching impact and the numbers of men associated with its work, it’s a small wonder than more enrollees weren’t killed in those years between 1933 and 1942.
Sources: As with all the posts in the State-By-State series the map is from Stan Cohen's book The Tree Army. The campstove plan is from a 1930s book on construction of camp stoves. I'm also indebted to Bob Audretsch for his indexing of the Happy Days newspaper.