Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The C.C.C. Camps
note: This is a typical C.C.C.Camp photo, so far I haven't found any photos of either the Sweet Root or Blankley Park Camps.
The (CCC) Civilian Corservation Corps was created in 1933 by the Emergency Conservation Act. Under President Roosevelt's "New Deal Program", single men between 18 and 25 would be housed, fed, paid, and would receive medical care from six months to two years. In return they would do road construction, flood control, reforestation and landscaping to help with soil erosion or work on park projects. Even though enrollees were paid $30.00 a month, $25.00 was sent directly home to their families at home, who were on relief. A typical camp could house 200 men, with 24 building including a kitchen, mess hall,barracks for the men and officer quarters.
The men who were selected, spent about two weeks at an Army base going through an orientation program to prepare them for camp life. From there they were sent directly to a camp. We had two such camps near Chaneysville, one at Sweet Root the other one at Blankley on top of Tussey Mountain.
Life in the camp began at 6:30 with reveille, then exercise before breakfast. After roll-call, the men went out on work detail, some planted pine trees on top of "Worley", known as Pine Ridge, others layed up stone culverts along our roads. One of the most important projects was to cut out fire trails all over our forests that could also be used as fire breaks. Blankley and Sweet Root Parks were also constructed by these hard workers. At the end of the day, there were plenty of activites for the men to get involved in like: football, basketball, baseball, track, even boxing. They participated in intramural competition. For the less athletic men, there was even a camp newsletter to be published.
The camp at Sweet Root (S-142) was originally erected to provide housing and work detail for WWI Veterans and itinerants, it was established July 10, 1933 and closed Oct. 31, 1935. Another camp in the Buchanan State Forest was on Martin Hill, this housed all the black enrollees near Blankley Park (S-154). Today if you take a walk into Sweet Root Gap, you'll see stone foundations of the CCC garage. Going further into the gap you can make out where some of the barracks and the mess hall stood.
The following is copied from the Everett newspaper...
Chaneysville C.C.C. Camp Holds Halloween Party
Over five hundred people attended the Halloween Party at the Chaneysville Camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps on Friday night. The personnel of the camp acted as hosts for the evening and provided several hours of pleasant entertainment for their guests.
Trucks of the camp were dispatched to nearby towns during the early part of the evening to transport to the party, and return transportation was also provided for these guests. Many folks traveled to the camp in their own automobiles.
The activities of the evening were held in the camp mess hall. The room was attractively decorated with autumn leaves, evergreens and Halloween novelties.
The entire evening was one of gayety and fun. A lively and entertaining program was presented and plenty of music was furnished for dancing. Appetizing refreshments were distributed in generous quantities to the hundreds of guests.
***All CCC Camps were officially closed on July 2, 1942.
***By 1940, more than 160,000 young men of Pa. had once belonged to a camp.
***These men planted 50,000,000 trees and built over 6,300 miles of trails and roads, also 98 dams, 86 lookout towers and many more improvements to our parks and forests.