ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED CONSERVATION SERVICE EMPLOYEES (ARCSE)

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CCC Work in VIRGINIA

 

CCC Home

 

 

There were around 154 camps in Virginia.   The project purpose was Private Forest for 40 of them, National Forest for 15, State Parks for 29, Soil Conservation for 27, and various other purposes for the remainder.   On June 15, 1936, Virginia simultaneously dedicated their FIRST six state parks: Douthat, Westmoreland, Hungry Mother, Fairy Stone, Staunton River and Seashore (now First Landing) all built by the CCC.   The CCC also helped develop two recreation demonstration areas to show how a use other than farming would be a far better use of highly erosive areas.   One of those areas is Pocahontas State Park and the other is Prince William Forest National Park.

 

Locations and Camps described on this page:

Location

Camps

Amelia County

SCS-24 (Pine Top) and P-88

Camp Roosevelt

NF-1

Colonial National Historical Park

NM-1,   NM-2,   NM-3,   NM-4

Dinwiddie County

SCS-8

Fort Belvoir

Army-3

Fort Hunt

NP-6

Fort Monroe

Army-1-VA

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

MP-1,   MP-3,   MP-4,   P-69

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

SP-19

Nottoway County

SCS-13

Pocahontas State Park

SP-24

Prince William County

P-71

Prince William Forest National Park

SP-22,   SP-25,   SP-26

Russell County - Cleveland, VA

TVA-3

Seashore State Park

SP-28

Shenandoah National Park

NP-1,   NP-2

Stafford County

SCS-11

Westmoreland State Park

SP-19

 

    Camp Roosevelt:

 

Camp Roosevelt (initially called Camp Edith) was the first CCC camp in the entire nation.   It was also known as Company 322 or Project NF-1 (NF for National Forest).   Enrollment started in Washington, DC and the first boy inducted was Henry Rich on April 7th.   These inductees went to Fort Washington, MD for conditioning, medical survey and equipment, and then were transported to Camp Roosevelt (about 100 miles west of Washington, DC) via Greyhound busses.   They arrived (two hundred strong) o

 

The "Boys" arrived to an open field.   Their supply trucks with food and tents got lost on the winding back roads.   The Army Commanders went to town and bought all of the hotdogs and supplies available.   It was April and an afternoon thunderstorm hit.   It was a rough start, and soon the CCC motto became "We Can Take It.”

 

April 17th, 1933.

 

In a few days the camp was filled with tents.

 

By 1934, more comfortable buildings were complete. The barracks were built to house about 40 men each.

 

The very FIRST CCC enrollee was Henry Rich seen here to the right in the front row.   He was a guitar player in the camp's "Harmonicats and String Sextet,” and he served as one of the camp cooks for 7 years.

 

Picture compliments of Henry's daughter, Norma.

 

The three harmonica players in the back from left to right are: Mr. Tony Manili (8th CCC enrollee), Mr. Tony Tassa, and Mr. Burdette.    The three string players in the front from left to right are: Mr. Bishop, Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Henry Rich. Life in the camps was obviously not all work.   After dinner and the education hour, the 'boys' had free time.   Once the recreation hall was built, it was well stocked with a ping pong table and..... Once a week and on weekends the 'boys' would have a chance to go to town.

 

Pictured are a few pieces of furniture built by the "CCC boys" at Camp Roosevelt.   These pieces are currently being used in the office of the Lee District Forest Service in Edinburg, VA. Will the last chair you bought be this solid and serviceable 70 years from now??

 

 

The CCC boys built Woodstock Tower (shown to the left), Elizabeth Furnace Recreation Area and what is now called New Market Gap Picnic Area.   They also hauled white-tailed deer from Pennsylvania for re-introduction in the Shenandoah Valley.   Other projects included road building and maintenance (including Crisman Hollow Road and SR678), forestry - tree planting and inventory, fire prevention and firefighting, and managed two game refuges at Pitt Springs and Schaeffer Gap.

 

 

In 1936 the boys recycled logs from abandoned cabins in the Elizabeth Furnace area to build a new cabin (shown to the right) next to the campground.

 

Special thanks to Joan (left), President, Camp Roosevelt CCC Legacy Foundation, and to Stephanie (right), Forest Service Interpretive Specialist, for the information they provided on my visit February 6th, 2006.   Also, for their approval to use pictures and info from their web sites.

 

The Foundation's web site is:   ccclegacy.org

The Lee District Forest Service's web site is:

OH, just click here it's toooo long!!

 

A must read is a speech given by George Dant in 1991 about his arrival at Camp Roosevelt on April 17th on the "Brief History" page of the Foundation's web site.   The Forest Service's web page has many great pictures.

 

Shenandoah National Park:

In 1926, the U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the park on the condition that no federal dollars be used to buy land.   In 1927, the Commonwealth of VA passed a blanket condemnation act, requiring owners to sell their land.   State and donated private funds were used to buy the land.   On July 18, 1931, construction of Skyline Drive began by local farmers who needed work due to crop failure.   The road was completed by contractors.   It was started quickly because President Herbert Hoover had a fishing camp in the area.   Skyline drive runs about 105 miles from the north entrance of the park near Front Royal to the south entrance near Waynesboro.   Many of the miles of roads have rock guard rails.

 

The first 2 camps in the nation supervised by the National Park Service were NP-1 at Skyland, and NP-2 at Big Meadows.   These camps opened May 15, 1933.   Eleven camps with over 10,000 'CCC boys' returned the farmed areas to its natural look and they built trails, fire roads, most of the scenic overlooks, picnic areas, comfort stations, and other structures.   By the end of 1934, a sawmill, a shingle mill, a blacksmith shop, and a sign shop were built to produce materials needed to construct the park buildings.   Nurseries were set up at Front Royal and Big Meadows to grow the trees and shrubs that would be used to revegetate areas. The boys planted more than 100,000 trees and shrubs.     President Roosevelt visited the park during August of 1933.

 

There are 40 overlooks and many parking areas along Skyline Drive for visitors to stop and enjoy the views.

 

 

They built the lodge at Big Meadows.   The CCC boys provided the materials for the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center but the labor was obtained by contract.

 

Chopawamsic Recreation Demonstration Area:

     now named Prince William Forest National Park

Click here for an Administrative History by Susan Cary Strickland (Jan/86).

 

Algonquin-speaking American Indians lived in the region for thousands of years making a living from the land and water of the heavily wooded area.   In 1607 the first Europeans settled in Virginia, and started clear-cutting forests to create large tobacco plantations.   In the 1970s Scottish merchants established the port of Dumfries at the mouth of Quantico Creek to warehouse and export the crop.   Intensive tobacco farming proved hard on the land, and exposed topsoil eroded away and soon silted in Dumfries harbor.   By the 1750s most plantations were abandoned or divided up.

 

In 1989 the local economy got a boost with the opening of the Cabin Branch Pyrite ("fool's gold") Mine employing 200 to 300 workers.   Sulfuric acid extracted from the pyrite was used to make soap, fertilizer, and gunpowder.   The mine prospered through World War I, but falling prices and labor troubles closed it in 1920.

 

 

 

Reforestation of the area became a deliberate goal in 1933 with the creation of the Chopawamsic Recreation Demonstration Area.   The area was one of 46 New Deal land-use projects aimed to demonstrate the wisdom of converting badly eroded marginal farmlands to recreational activities.   By 1941 the "CCC boys" had constructed roads, bridges, 5 dams, and five rustic cabin camps for inner-city children.   Pictured here is Company 2349 operating the rock crusher which is preparing the stone to be used in the concrete to build dams 5 (shown below) and 2.   The boys also operated a saw mill to make lumber to build the cabins, picnic shelters, bridges, etc.

 

 

Work in the park was done by Companies 1374 (SP-22), 2349 (SP-25), and 2383 (SP-26).   Some WPA money was used to hire skilled workmen to supplement the work force.   Company 1374 built cabin camps 1 and 4 near its camp site, Company 2349 built cabin camps 2 and 5 near its camp site, and Company 2383 built cabin camp 3.   During Oct 1939, camp SP-26 was elevated to National Park status and became NP-16-VA.   During 1941 when the CCC program was no longer funded, NP-16-VA was redesignated as defense camp NP-D-12, and served as a top-secret military installation to train the troops for World War II.   The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) operated training schools known as Areas A and C.   Area A recruits learned to gather intelligence, and the trainees practiced spying in nearby communities.   Area C was devoted to the teaching of codes, covert radio transmission, and weapons skills.

 

Picnic Shelter

One of the rustic cabins in the 5 "Cabin Camps"

 

A bridge over peaceful waters.

 

During spring of 2006, it was very dry in northern VA, and in March a fire started in the park.   The fire burned about 500 of the over 15,000 acres in the park.   Most of the trees will survive.   Litter on the forest floor was burned leaving the area susceptible to erosion for a year or two.   None of the cabins built by the CCC boys were damaged.

 

George Washington Birthplace National Monument:

 

Rijk Morawe, Chief, Natural & Cultural Resources Management, for this National Monument is from West Texas.   After accepting this job, he was telling his family and great uncle William said he had worked in that area with the C's in 1934.   William was an Army Officer that helped administer the CCC Camp SP-19 (Company 2352) near Baynesville, VA.   Camp SP-19 built Westmoreland State Park, but also did some work at George Washington's Birthplace.

Click here for Great Uncle William E. Wilhelm's story.

 

 

Swift Creek Recreation Demonstration Area:

now named Pocahontas State Park:

 

In 1934 the federal government purchased this area (7604 acres) intending to demonstrate the wisdom of converting marginal farmland to recreation purposes.   CCC Camp SP-24 (Company 2386) near Beach, VA was responsible for reforesting the area and building recreational facilities.

Many thanks to Beth, CCC Museum Curator, who gave me a personal tour, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for the information in this section.   Pictured is Beth holding a framed newspaper article about her paternal grandfather Benton Berry Roach (note the Native American spelling of Berry) who was a CCC enrollee and worked on the Blue Ridge at Luray.   "Bent" was also quite an athlete.   He was camps ping pong champ, could palm two basketballs at once, tied the state record for the broad jump, and was good at every sport he tried.   Her maternal grandfather was too young to enroll, but Beth said "he was enamored by the CCC boys doing conservation work near his home and would often watch them work."

 

The late Ralph Hines helped build Pocahontas State Park.   He recalled "that he arrived in the middle of night from Newport News to nothing but corn fields."   He had joined a year early at the age of 17!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth explained "when 2 boys had a disagreement, they would strap on the boxing gloves, go 3 rounds in the ring, were required to shake hands afterwards. The disagreement was over!!"

 

 

 

The boys built two dams in the park with spillways made from stone.   This one has the smaller lake above it, which is slowly filling with silt, ever changing the ecosystem.   We saw two white ducks diving for a snack and evidence of beaver living at the upper end.

 

The boys built this building which houses the parks CCC museum.

 

A clock so they wouldn't be late for dinner!

 

A bench built for the officers’ quarters

 

the boys used a lot of hand tools!!

 

Colonial National Historical Park:

There were four camps, NM-1 (Company 323), NM-2 (Company 325), NM-3 (Company 1351), NM-4 (Company 2305) in the area.   The enrollees were all African American with Company 2305 being made up of older war veterans.   A major part of their work was archeological.   But they also landscaped along the Colonial Parkway, did erosion control work, and protected the area from fire.   They participated in a pilot program to control malaria which included draining marsh, clearing forests, and treating water with mosquito control chemicals.

 

Thanks to Jane Sundberg, Cultural Resource Management Specialist, of the National Park Service for the information and the old pictures of the CCC at work.

 

The boys made archeological digs to determine the location of British, American, and French forces during the decisive Revolutionary War battle of Yorktown.

 

They located redoubt #9 (shown here) along with the ???? redoubt.

 

The guns are original - the CCC boys reproduced the canon carriages

 

..for us to learn from and enjoy today.

 

 

They reproduced period furniture

 

..for us to relax on in the Visitor Center.

 

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park:

 

This park memorializes the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House -- four major engagements of the Civil War.   No other area of comparable size witnessed such heavy and continuous fighting.   Within a radius of 17 miles, more than 100,000 American lives were lost.

 

Eric Mink and Mark Allen of the National Park Service were great hosts for my visit and provided me with a lot of information on what the CCC boys did to help preserve and interpret some of the scenes of those battles.   Since my initial visit, Kati Singel, volunteer at Chancellorsville, has been very helpful.

 

Four CCC camps served this area.   Three of the camps were on federal property.   Camp Bloody Angle (MP-1) was at the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Camp Wilderness (MP-4) was at the Battle of the Wilderness, and Camp Chancellorsville (MP-3) was at the Battle of Chancellorsville.   One camp was on private property centered between the other three.   It was Camp Malcomb McArthur (P-69) along Catharpin Road.   The following picture was taken during Nov 1934 and is the Wilderness Camp (MP-4).

 

The shop at CCC camp MP-4 (later renamed NP-24) remains in the Wilderness.

 

The shop at CCC camp MP-3 remains at Chancellorsville (Oct 16, 1933 to Mar 1942).

 

The shop at CCC camp Bloody Angle MP-1 remains at Spotsylvania.

 

The boys reconstructed the trenches used by the Civil War troops at the Wilderness.

 

They rebuilt the stone wall along the road where confederate infantry fought during the battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862.

 

They built stone bridges.   This one is on Hill Ewell Drive at the Wilderness.

 

The boys built the visitor center in Fredericksburg.

 

The Wilderness camp was established Oct 14, 1933 and was abandoned Apr 3, 1941. First, it was home to the boys of Company 282. On July 23, 1935, they moved out and Company 2353 moved in. On May 27, 1936, that company moved out and Company 5434 moved in. On Oct 11, 1937, that company moved out and Company 333 moved in (Company 333 was African-American). The last company to occupy the Wilderness camp was Company 2329.   They arrived Dec 1940 and moved to Chancellorsville Apr 3, 1941.   Chancellorsville closed Mar 1942.

 

Dinwiddie County:

 

Camp construction began for Camp Wingfield Scott (SCS-8) on August 12, 1935 in Ford, VA.   The camp was staffed by Company 5480, and was discontinued Dec. 15, 1937.

 

Stafford County:

Thanks go to Matt Laird for help with information about this camp.

Camp VA-SCS-11 was located southeast of the intersection of U.S. Route 17 and State Route 670 (Greenbank Road).   The nearest town was Berea about 3 miles to the northwest along Route 17.   On August 8, 1935, 88 veteran CCC enrollees arrived to set up camp.   Living in tents for the next few months, the boys worked to turn a fallow wheat field into a comfortable camp.   When the camp was complete, it was occupied by Company 2363.   The boys started work on Sept. 6, 1935 and their work ended Sept. 29, 1939.   Enrollees were supervised by the Soil Conservation Service and they strung fences, planted trees, dug diversion ditches, fought forest fires, and instructed local farmers in soil conservation practices.

 

Nottoway County:

Camp John J. Pershing (SCS-13) was established during October 1935 just east and south of Crewe in Nottoway County.   It was located about a mile south of this marker along "CCC Road."   The camp was staffed by Company 1370 which was moved from Pembroke.   This unit distinguished itself as a forestry camp, and became legend for its heroic efforts in fighting forest fires.   Company 1370 was moved to Camp Pine Top in Amelia County during June of 1940, and Camp John J. Pershing was closed.

 

The gateway shown below was obtained by Captain Albert from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and was first erected at Pembroke.   Company 1370 brought it with to Camp John J. Pershing, and when they moved to Camp Pine Top they moved it once again.

 

When I was trying to locate this camp, I visited with an avid hunter that was reading the paper as I drove by his house.   He showed me a field that he hunts in that was terraced by the CCC boys.   The field was grown up with hay which made showing the terraces impossible to see in a picture.

 

 

Amelia County:

 

Thanks go to Edwin O'Neal at the Amelia Historical Society for this info.

 

Amelia County, in south central Virginia, had two camps, Camp Linden (P-88) and Camp Pine Top (SCS-24).   Camp Linden was established on July 24, 1935.   The first enrollees were from Pennsylvania and they stayed until October of 1936 when boys from Georgia arrived.   These boys stayed until July of 1937 when the camp was abandoned.   This camp was under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Service and they constructed and maintained truck trails through large areas of timberland within a 15 mile radius of the camp.   Since that time, the Highway Department has taken over several of the trails.

 

In June of 1940, Company 1370 moved from Crewe in Nottoway County and established Camp Pine Top.   The gateway arch (shown above at Crewe) followed Company 1370 from Pembroke to Crewe to Amelia.   It was erected at Camp Pine Top on September 28, 1940.   These boys helped establish conservation measures on farms in Amelia and Powhatan Counties.   They assisted landowners in setting up planned conservation systems.   They relocated fences, hedgerows, and farm roads, etc. to help the farmer change from a straight line system of farming to farming on the contour.   They repaired gullies.   They fenced highly erosive areas so the farmer could pasture fields that were previously in row crops.   They planted trees if a change in land use was required.   They improved the timber stand on up to 5 acres on a single farm to demonstrate woodland improvement practices.   Nearly every evening, certified teachers were brought by trucks to the camp to teach literacy, arithmetic, reading, and writing.

 

Reverend Walter Patrick was born in 1924, he had 2 older sisters and 2 younger brothers, his mother passed when he was 13. At the age of 16 he joined the CCC for 6 months and was stationed at Camp Pine Top which was only about 9 miles from his home.   He would walk home almost every Friday evening and return Sunday afternoon.   His duties at the camp included serving the officers their meals, making their beds, and cleaning their rooms.   Reverend Patrick is pictured here next to one of the gate posts at the entrance to the camp.   The lions face is partially missing and the iron archway is long gone.   His favorite CCC story is "the camp supervisors asked for volunteers to drive truck, and many of the boys liked that idea so they volunteered.   They were marched to where the wheelbarrows were stored, and they DROVE them over to the coal pile and proceeded to move coal!!"

 

At the end of his 6 month CCC tour, WWII was starting and he enlisted in the Navy and served on a submarine for the entire period of the war.   He recalls on one of the trips out to sea the sub went through a hurricane, they could not go under the surface because they were due at a given location at a certain time, and he became terribly sea-sick for 9 days.   After the war, he obtained his GED and then went on to seminary school in New Jersey.

 

 

Fort Monroe:

 

Dave Johnson, museum archivist, provided this info.

 

Fort Monroe is located near where the Chesapeake Bay empties into the Atlantic Ocean, and was home to an African American CCC camp (Army-1-VA).   It opened on July 5, 1935, and housed Company 3321.   This camp was not only administered by the Army, but project supervision was also done by the Army since projects performed were done on the military base.

 

From a report dated February 18, 1938:

Joel A. Clark, 1st Cav-Res, took command of the company on July 1, 1937.   This is the first camp in which he has served as an officer.   Formerly, he was the educational adviser at Fort Union.   He has had 7 months service with the CCC.   He is 33 years old.

 

This camp maintains a side camp at Fort Story, where there was formerly a CCC camp.   They maintain a crew of 50 boys at this camp, under supervision of Lt Huffman and a Forman.   They are engaged in finishing the work of soil erosion control and mosquito control that was previously furthered by the other camp.   Boys at this camp are served the same quality of mess that is being served at Fort Monroe.   Full fire protection and attention is given this side camp.   Boys are assigned to this camp who are from Portsmouth and Norfolk where they have easier access to their homes when they leave.   Boys are well content at this camp.

 

While this camp did not measure up to the standards I would expect of a camp at an army post where they are subject to constant attention, still it was in comparatively good state in comparison with colored camps in general.......

 

Work accomplished by camp A-1-VA since July 1, 1937 (about 6 months):

Tree Planting. . . . . . . . . . . .10 acres

Soil Erosion Control . . . . . 11 acres (Fort Story)

Topsoiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 acres

Grading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 acres

 

----- Academic Education:

Literacy:

A group of 10 meets regularly two evenings a week for two hours instruction under a Hampton Institute student who is paid for his services by National Youth Administration.

English:

Eight enrollees meet twice weekly for a class in English.   Letter writing, public speaking, grammar, and reading form the basis for this study.   Most of the members of the group are on high school level.   The camp educational adviser is the teacher.

College:

One enrollee, the senior leader, attends Hampton Institute, two miles away.   He leaves camp at 10 A.M. and returns at 3 P.M.

----- Vocational Education:

Typing:

Regular instruction in typewriting is given to 7 enrollees by the company clerk.   Four machines have been borrowed from the Fort Monroe Coast Artillery School.

Cabinet

Making:

A well-equipped shop is maintained and 10 enrollees are given instruction in woodworking four hours a week by a Hampton Institute student.   The shop is also open evenings and Saturdays.

Auto

Mechanics:

Thirteen truck drivers are taught automobile care and repair by army personnel at the post garage.   Six also take instruction in the camp auto shop which is fairly well equipped.

Cooking &

Table

Service:

Mess hall attendants (12) are under direct instruction of the mess officer.   Cooks are trained from KP list.   From time to time the army educational adviser gives a course to prepare mess hall workers to work in hotels, restaurants, and steamships.

 

----- Job Training:

General:

All foremen give one hour or more instruction to their respective details.   Half of this is during leisure time, usually before work in the morning.   Camp personnel instruct members of the overhead.

----- Informal:       

Music:

Three quartets are maintained under instruction of enrollee leaders supervised by the educational adviser.   Singing is a feature of all company assemblies.   A camp orchestra of four pieces is practicing in anticipation of a public appearance.

Dramatics:

A dramatic club presents light plays and dialogues and its members study popular plays, acting, and stage-craft.

Religion:

A thirty minute religious service is held each Sunday morning in the recreation hall.   The leader is a volunteer from Hampton Institute.

Motion Pictures:

Educational motion pictures are shown in camp three times per month.   Two motion picture theaters are less than a mile from the camp.

Entertainments:

School and church groups present programs in camp about four times per month.   On the Sunday before date of this report the Huntington High School chorus of Newport News, VA, presented an afternoon program in which the company's quartet participated.   The next organization to visit the camp will be the dramatic club of Virginia Union University on the Monday after this date.

Athletics:

Teams are maintained for the various sports in season and training is given by an Emergency Education Program worker.   Frequent talks to the company by this coach increases enrollee appreciation of training, fair play, skill, etc.

 

 

Fort Hunt:

 

Matthew Virta, Cultural Resource Manager AND Lisa Davidson, Historic American Building Survey Div of National Park Service, provided this info.

 

The area where Fort Hunt is located was patented by Giles Brent in 1653 and was used as a fort as early as 1676 when settlers built a fort for protection from the Susquehannock Indian tribe.   In 1893, a 92.5 acre farm was purchased for a new Coastal Defense fortification to guard the capital.   The fort included living quarters for officers and enlisted men, a hospital, etc.   In 1897, the first of four gun emplacements (Battery Mount Vernon) was complete.   The Fort was pressed into service before it was totally complete as a result of our War with Spain from April through December of 1898.   The 80 to 120 soldiers stationed there were never called upon to defend Washington, but had endless target practice, parades, ceremonies, and dedications that typified life near the capital!!   By 1917, Fort Hunt was unneeded to protect the capital, and in August the guns were shipped to France for use by American Military forces engaged in World War I.   In 1928, Congress approved the George Washington Memorial Parkway, and Fort Hunt was to be used as a roadside recreational area.

 

CCC Camp NP-6 was established at Fort Hunt on October 13, 1933.   Boys from Virginia and New York of Company 1241 were the first to arrive.   During August 1935, a company (2339) of boys from Pennsylvania was added, and in October 1937, Company 2387 replaced the boys of Company 1241.   The boys built the oil storage shed shown to the left which is still there.   During the second enrollment period from November 14, 1933 until March 31, 1934, a crew of about fifteen boys pruned trees along the “Boulevard” from Mount Vernon to Alexandria, under the supervision of Mr. Ellsworth, a local enrollee who was considered “very efficient and capable on tree work.”   Another crew cleared shrubs and debris along the same area.   The resulting 100 loads of firewood were donated to the Welfare Society in Alexandria.   When the roadside clean-up project was complete, they began supervising work on demolishing the Norton Plant, a reinforced concrete factory building along the waterfront.   Material from the demolition was reused as erosion control in gullies along the “Boulevard” and waterfront.   A detail of enrollees working 3,059 “man days” built an eight-foot-wide bridle path from Memorial Avenue Bridge (originally called Boundary Channel Bridge) parallel with the parkway for six miles towards Alexandria.   This project included construction of a retaining wall four feet high and 150 feet long, and two ten-foot span bridges.   Another project was remodeling existing buildings at Fort Hunt to be used as a National Park Service office and a shop.   Erosion control of the riverfront included operation of a quarry to supply stone for rip rap work along the waterfront and for the retaining wall along the bridle path.   Another erosion control crew hauled top soil and planted seed along the riverfront.   A landscaping detail worked on cultivating shrubs and small trees near the Columbia Island (now Lady Bird Johnson Park).   In addition, 1,725 “man days” and 171 “team days” (mule teams) were spent clearing and plowing 100 acres of Columbia Island.

 

 

Fort Hunt had a work category unique to this camp, a model-making shop.   From November 1933 to November 1938, six to eight museum technicians and twenty enrollees constructed relief models, museum exhibits, and dioramas for various eastern parks.   A similar workshop at a CCC camp in Berkeley, California did work for the western parks.

 

The King and Queen of Great Britain visited the camp at Fort Hunt on June 9, 1939.   They were accompanied by President and Mrs. Roosevelt.   The Headquarters Washington Provisional Brigade was called upon to furnish troops to assist in traffic control.   The King alone inspected the 187 CCC boys accompanied by Charles Watson, Project Superintendent of the Camp; Capt. Blair Henderson, Commander.   And Robert Fechner, CCC Director and Arthur Demary, Associate Director of the National Park Service accompanied Mrs. Roosevelt, while the Queen and the President remained in their cars.   The King showed interest in the activities of the camp and asked detailed questions about the cuisine and training of the camp directors.   He also carefully viewed photographic exhibits depicting the work of the camp.

 

On October 22, 1941, the War Department designated this unit as a "defense" camp and renamed it   NP(D)6-VA.   CCC work at the camp ended on May 25, 1942.   Many new buildings were added including two POW facilities and the troops engaged in secret operations called MIS-X.   The old post hospital was renovated and called the "Creamery".

 

 

Fort Belvoir:

 

Camp Army-3 (Company 2399) was established to improve the forest stand, eliminate fire hazard, improve drainage, build fire trails, and control erosion on the 1500 acre military base, and to the 4500 acre outlying reservation.   It was an African American camp established in Oct 1935.   Following are excerpts from an inspection report of March 1938 (copied from the National Archives).

 

 

 

Seashore State Park:

now named First Landing State Park

 

Seashore State Park (now named First Landing State Park) was 1 of the first 6 state parks in Virginia, and was dedicated on June 15, 1936.   It is located near the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay with the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Norman Claiborne joined the CCC in 1940 when he was 20 years old, and was assigned to Company 1375.   Company 1375 lived in camp SP-28 and worked on Seashore State Park.   Norman primarily worked on the building of the bathhouses.   They required a lot of concrete, and mechanical concrete mixers were not available.   Norman said "all of the gravel, cement, and water was mixed by hand using hoes!"

 

One of the cabins.

 

Prince William County:

Camp on private property - - P-71

 

Thanks go to Beverly R. Veness, Library Assistant III, RELIC/Bull Run Regional Library for much of this info.

        Click here for Bev's article.

The picture was taken in 1934 from the fire lookout tower they built and is looking northwest along Route 234.   Hoadly Road intersects with Route 234 just in front of the tree line on the right side of 234.   The photo was provided by the NPS, Manassas National Battlefield Park.

 

Company 299 arrived at the camp during October 1933.   The projects were supervised by forestry personnel.   They built two fire lookout towers (the one here next to the camp and one in Fairfax County).   They built many miles of truck trails through the woods to facilitate movement of crews to fires. They have removed dead trees and underbrush from many acres reducing the fire hazard.   They eradicated insects on some acres to prevent the trees from dying and becoming a fire hazard.   They spent many hours fighting forest fires.

 

An agreement between a landowner and the Virginia Forest Service is shown after the aerial photo.

 

This aerial photo (top of photo is north) of the camp was taken 1939, and more clearly shows the intersection of Route 234 and Hoadly Road.

 

 

 

TVA 3 - Russell County - Camp Beauregard:

 

This camp near Cleveland, VA in Russell County (about 22 miles north of Bristol in SW VA) was supervised by the Tennessee Valley Authority.   It was close to the meandering Clinch River

 

Today, this church can hardly be seen from the place where the camp picture above was taken.   The CCC boys (Roosevelts Tree Army) planted the highly erosive steep slopes on these hills to trees.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the gate posts at the camp entrance.

 

CCC 2nd Lieutenant William E. Wilhelm, US Army 12th Infantry Baynesville VA, 1935

 

From a hand-written autobiography:

 

"…In the mean time, I was taking written tests conducted by the Army and was advised that I would go on active duty in July 1934. For 1 month, I saved most of my pay and had tailor made uniforms needed for active duty. Boy was I ever a "hot shot" – "pink" gabardine slacks and "breeches" – khaki blouse - - hat, boots and spurs – Sam Brown belt, "the works." Cost approximately $300 at that time – big bucks!! But I was Dapper Dan and still wet behind the ears! I looked as good as any West Pointer!! Ha!"

 

"Having heard of the "CCC" – Civilian Conservation Corps – and the Army administration of it for shelter, mess, supply, disciplining etc., I submitted my application. In September of that year (1934) I received orders assigning me to Co. 2352 CCC Baynesville, Va.. I had just turned 21 years of age and was "riding high.""

"We had a 1931 Model A Ford which pop gave me when I packed up to report for CCC duty, a new leaf in my tree of life. Mom gave me a big hug and kiss along with teary eyes and away this stalwart would-be trooper went!!"

 

"Baltimore – Washington – Fredericksburg and then down the Northern Neck of Virginia. After about 5 hours of driving, I saw a sign "CCC Camp 2352 – Westmoreland State Park" – Wow!! I got here!! Nervously, I pulled into the dirt access road and drove ever so slowly until I saw a group of wood barracks. The 1st building had a sign "Company HQs" and to the rear "Officers Quarters." With my heart jumping, I pulled alongside an old Chevrolet and parked. Mastering courage, I got out of my car, stood erect and walked into the office. My heart beat like a hammer but I smiled to a distinguished looking captain and introduced myself. He was Capt. Jamieson Marshall of N.Y. and a WWI Officer of perhaps 50 years old. Another officer then came in and he was 1st lieutenant Hugh Saeger of Pittsburgh and about 45 years old. They both seemed genuinely glad to see me and we went to the mess hall for coffee. At least one officer had to be on duty 24 hours daily – leave of absence was difficult when camps had only 2 officers. Later, when I was the only officer in other camps, I would find out."

 

"This little ole kid looked sharp compared to the capt. And 1st Lt. – they never asked me my age, experience, etc. – they just piled on the work!! Quickly, Lt Saeger transferred to duties of Mess Officer to me. Capt. Marshall told me that he would introduce me to the CCC "boys" (a lot of them older than me!) and the State Park personnel in the morning. For 1 week, I was the observer of reveille, meal formations, work formations and retreat. Then - - it was up to me!! The officer’s mess was located in the main mess hall and partitioned off for privacy. The Park Supt, officers, education advisors and visiting VIPs ate with us."

"The officers had an allowance of $18.00 per month for rations included with their monthly pay – therefore, we paid $0.60 per day to the mess fund. Incidentally, at that time, the CCC enrollee rations per day averaged about $0.30 per day. The officer’s mess had white "china" of WWI vintage. The CCC boys used aluminum mess gear. After eating, the "boys" would empty uneaten food into a G.I. can, then rinse their mess kits into a hot soapy water in a 2nd G.I. can followed by rinsing in a 3rd G.I. can full of clean hot water. Mess gear was inspected daily at the mess hall and kept clean by rubbing with sand."

"During my duty as Mess Officer, I learned that we could purchase "china" dishes, etc. from the Quarter Master in Penna, provided the money was saved from the mess. By saving once cent to two cents per man per day, we could obtain china and return the mess gear. The mess steward was a local guy and very savvy. I have never seen so many different ways to prepare SPAM canned beef and chopped beef. In addition, he worked "deals" with local farmers for surplus vegetables etc. – eureka! 5 to 6 months later we had "china" for the boys amidst loud cheers!"

 

"In camp, we had 40-60 man barracks, a 5kw generator which supplied lights at times – outside johns which required daily lime treatments – shower rooms, a PX with minimum inventories – no beer or liquor, a library and a recreation hall with ping pong tables and reading tables. Everything was minimum; however, the work ethic and military discipline turned raw youths from inner cities and rural areas into excellent physical specimens and better citizens. There was camaraderie, espirit de corps and a new purpose in these young men. The camps served multipurpose programs, some camps performed work for the National Park Service, others for the Department of Agriculture, others for the Forest Service. They built thousands of miles of roads, parks, cabins, planted millions of trees, fought forest fires and assisted farmers. This was not welfare like modern programs; these men more than earned their keep. Each enrollee earned $30 p/mo with $25.00 sent to his wife or parents, and $5.00 p/mo to the enrollee. The $25.00 mailed home paid for many a mortgage, food and other necessities of unemployed parents. I am proud of my work for this worthy program!"

 

"In my new role as Supply Officer, it was incumbent upon me to count every item in camp, from sheets, pillow cases, pillows, blankets, fire extinguishers, - everything – then sign for them thus releasing the former Supply Officer from responsibility. Ditto for the PX, ditto for the company mess. Brother, they were really putting it to me! Thank God I had some work ethic or it would have been horrific!"

 

"After approximately 1 month, I had gained some sense of acceptance by my fellow officers and gained some respect from the CCC "boys" as a hard worker, not some young dude in a fancy uniform. As time went on, I learned to work at nights by Coleman lantern or candles when the generator went out at 6:00 PM or when the power went out due to mechanical difficulties. At times, both of the other officers were on leave or out of camp. Then the full brunt of responsibility fell on me, the "kid" was developing into a mature man.!"

 

"We had various inspection teams from the Washington Army HQs, the CCC HQs, and National Park Service. Frequently, we had a personal representative of President Roosevelt, i.e., a political hack!"

 

"Lt. Douglas MacArthur, III and Major Leslie Graves were our Army inspectors, MacArthur was a nephew of General MacArthur and Major Groves became Director of the Manhattan Project (atomic bomb) in 1942 - as a Major General. At one time, I wrote to Lt. MacArthur requesting clarification of a supply problem and it was sent to Gen. Mac Arthur. It was funny - - I received a reply from the General that "this matter belonged to his nephew and not him!" Signed by the General - - boy, the General lacked a good staff in those days!"

 

In August of 1936, Bill Wilhelm was transferred to a camp located at Big Island, New Bedford, VA, a USFS project. A short time later, he was told to move the camp to Clinch Port, VA, Jefferson National Forest, and in September of 1936, was promoted to 1st Lt., "a real hot dog!" He performed his duty in exemplary fashion and was camp commander and served on special duties to other camps as advisor. In late 1938, he received orders to proceed to Richmond HQ and assigned as Construction Officer of the CCC district responsible for a number of camps. He was responsible for dismantling camps and relocating them to new sites as new projects arose and was responsible for ordering construction materials. He was transferred to and took over the camp at Yorktown. Ft. Monroe then brought him on as a Construction Quartermaster to build Ft. Story, VA. and, thus, left the CCC. Bill Wilhelm died in October of 2001 at the age of 88.

 

 

 

Started Feb, 2006 by Owen P. Lee and last updated Nov 8, 2012