Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Father in the Civilian Conservation Corps

Since December 20 was my Father's birthday I have been planning to post some history about him. In the later 1930's (after graduating from High School in 1935) my Father was in the Civilian Conservation Corps at camps in both the eastern and western US.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was part of the New Deal by US President Franklin D Roosevelt to help combat unemployment in the Great Depression. The CCC was established in 1933 and continued to 1942 (as it was phased out by the WWII war effort.) Since this is the 75th Anniversary of the CCC establishment there are a number of websites with CCC history.

The CCC planted trees, built parks, roads and bridges, etc. Many of the state parks in the US are as a result of the CCC. The pictures above are from Big Sur California, one of the places my Father worked. They built a stone retaining wall along a road up the side of a mountain. My Father loved this outdoor work in the beautiful scenery being a young man just off the farm. The problem was the young men from big cities did not like this work and caused trouble. The National Guard had to come in to break up a protest and fight among these men at the camp. As a result they were moved back to a camp in the eastern US. My Father was disappointed because he enjoyed working in California.

I do not know how long my Father stayed in the CCC. Afterward he worked at a wide variety of different jobs during the depression years before WWII. If one place laid off workers, early the next morning, as soon as the newspaper came out with job listings, he was on the bus immediately to go to apply for any type of work available. As a result he was never unemployed in these depression years.

I have started a blog label Family History and have some plans for further posts in this series.


Queen of West Procrastination said...

I love those pictures of Grandpa from Big Sur. In case anyone who reads your blog hasn't seen all of them, I have the whole collection on Flickr here. Also, here are all the sweet wallet-sized portraits of Grandpa from his early years.

(Would this have been Grandpa's 91st birthday?)

Michael said...

Thank you so much for sharing these CCC images. So many people have forgotten about the CCC or fail to recognize it in photographs they have, assuming the images are from military service. The CCC was a great boon to this country and its young men. One contemporary estimate states that their work advanced infrastructure improvements at Grand Canyon more than a decade in just a couple years of work! Problems with city toughs and agitators in the camps were not uncommon. My grandfather was a Forest Service foreman in Colorado CCC camps and he wrote of having to send at least one trouble maker "down the hill," and of the mother of one man begging them to take her son back because his allottment was all they had coming in. It certainly wasn't a summer boys camp - you were expected to work and to behave yourself. Thank you again. You should consider joining CCC Legacy.

DC Power said...

Michael: Thanks for your comments. Did you see the other pictures linked in my daughters comments above? I saw the two blogs you have with CCC history. they are very interesting.