ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED CONSERVATION SERVICE EMPLOYEES (ARCSE)
CCC Work in KANSAS
Marion County, KS:
Thanks go to Dwight and Helen Beckham for the following information.
Camp KS-SCS-27 just outside of Marion, KS was established to build a park and create a lake with an earthen dam that would cover an area of over 300 acres. The first company to occupy the camp was #4755 and was pretty unique because it was made up of both veteran and junior enrollees. The enrollees were African American. The veterans served in either the Spanish American War or World War I. The company arrived from Ft. Riley, KS on Feruary 3, 1936, and departed for camp KS-SP-3 on February 1, 1939.
Camp KS-SCS-27 can be seen in the background.
The dam and lake as it looked in 2007 can be seen below.
These boys had energy for extra self-interest projects –– one was building a wash house and dry cleaning business. This wash house may have been a result of very enterprising men finding a way to supplement their dollar a day pay.
The story of the building was described in their Cappy’s Camp Courier 1936-1939 newspaper that was published by the camp’s journalism class. In 1938, two years after the Civilian Conservation Corps Company V4755 enrollees arrived in Marion this 12’x18’ native limestone wash house was erected through the leadership of Argo Bedford, Henry Reed, (buried in Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery) and James Warren. After work hours other men in the camp aided in its construction. Their newspaper admitted it was an effort to obtain some of the business that was going into the coffers of the downtown competition. The building had a concrete floor containing drainage facilities, hot water tanks, a sewing machine, tables, tubs, irons, a gasoline washing machine, and a Hoffman pressing machine.
All underclothing, fatigues, socks, shirts, trousers, etc. –unpressed or rough dry cost fifty cents per month. For $1.25 all clothing would be done and two dress G.I. uniforms would be cleaned and pressed twice per month. Laundry and dry cleaning bills were payable on payday and the men took advantage of the charge account 100 per cent. Business ran around the $200 mark per month. The camp newspaper noted that this establishment was the only one of its kind in the entire CCC throughout the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with over 2,650 camps.
Today the wash house is used as a museum.
Cappy's Camp Courier had lots of poems such as:
THIS LITTLE PIG WENT TO MARKET
THIS LITTLE PIG STAYED HOME
THIS LITTLE PIG JOINED THE CCC
AND INTO A HOG HAS GROWN.
THE DAM IS ABOUT COMPLETED.
AND THE DIRT IS FILED UP HIGH.
THERE WILL SOON BE HAPPY OR SAD DAYS
FOR EACH ONE, YOU AND I.
FOR THE TRUCKS ARE OUT OF THE VALLEY
AND THE ROCKS ARE ON TOP OF THE HILLS,
TO MAKE THE FINAL FILL.
SOME ROCKS ARE LARGE AND HEAVY
AND THEY LIE CLOSE TO THE GROUND.
IT TAKES SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES MEN’S POWER
TO MOVE THEM ROUND AND ROUND.
SO WE HAVE THESE MIGHTY TRACTORS
TO DO THE WORK AT HAND
THAT SEEMS TO BE IMPOSSIBLE
TO BE DONE BY MAN.
NOW WE ARE THE SURVIVING HEROES
OF THE MIGHTY AND GREAT WORLD WAR
WE ARE LACK OF STRENGTH AND ENERGY
BUT OUR WORK IS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT PAR.
NOW THE BOYS WHO WORK ON THIS PROJECT
ARE VETERANS WHO LIVE NEAR AND FAR.
WE CANNOT GO HOME AS WE WOULD LIKE TO
BECAUSE “RED” HAS “RED LINED” OUR CARE
BUT STILL WE TARRY AND LABOR
WE START SO EARLY IN THE MORN.
AND WHEN OUR DAY’S WORK IS ENDED
THE BUGLER FORGETS TO BLOW HIS HORN
WE HAVE ALL CROSSED THE GREAT ATLANTIC,
WE HAVE SAILED THE DEEP BLUE SEA,
WE WORE OUT UNCLE’S O.D.’S
WE FOUGHT FOR FRANCE, AND THE LAND OF THE FREE.
NOW WHILE I SET ON THIS BENCH
BESIDES GOD’S BLESSED SPRING, THERE COMES TO MY MIND MEMORIES
OF SONGS MY BUDDIES AND I USED TO SING.
THERE ARE SMILES THAT MAKE US HAPPY.
THERE ARE SMILES THAT MAKE US BLUE,
THERE ARE FACES ON THIS PROJECT
THAT WILL BE GLAD WHEN OUR WORK IS THROUGH,
NOW HASTEN TO ME COMRADES,
AND TO THEM THAT ARE IN COMMAND,
THE WORK WHICH MCBURNEY AND WE HAVE DONE,
MARION COUNTY OWES US A HAND.
BY ASST. LEADER CLARENCE MORGAN
WE NOW HAVE A COMMANDER
THE BOYS ALL CALL HIM “RED.”
THE ONLY TIME THEY GET A KICK OUT OF LIFE
IS WHEN HE IS HOME IN BED.
HE IS ABOUT TO TAKE OFF ON A VACATION
OH WHAT JOY AND RELIEF.
AND MAYBE YOU THINK WE ARE NOT HAPPY?
WE ARE ABOUT TO GET RID OF OUR GRIEF.
SOME OF THE BOYS WENT HOME LAST WEEK
TO SEE THEIR LOVING WIVES,
THEY TRIED TO GET BACK TO CAMP ON TIME
TO KEEP DOWN ANGER AND STRIFE.
NOW THIS IS ONE THING THAT “RED” DEMANDS,
GET BACK TO CAMP ON TIME.
FOR IF YOU ARE LATE A DAY OR TWO
YOU ARE SURE TO BE RELINED.
HE IS ROUGH AND TOUGH AND VERY GRUFF
BUT AFTER ALL THESE THINS I’VE SAID
IF YOU NEED A FRIEND, IN TIME OF NEED
GO SEE “RED.”
-BY CLARENCE MORGAN