Within Highlands Hammock State Park is the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. The CCC was started in 1933 as a part of FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Originally, the program provided jobs to men between the ages of 18-23, it was eventually expanded to the ages of 17-28. The main target of the work was environmental: reforesting, erosion control, parks, flood control and similar projects.
The young men were provided food, shelter, clothing and a small payment of $30, of which $25 went directly to their families. The CCC was in every state and territory, and at any one time 300,000 men were in the program. Over the nine years leading up to WWII, 3 million men went through the CCC.
I’ve seen CCC works all around the country, and several parks within Florida have signs of the Civilian Conservation Corps having been there. The enrollees were called Roosevelt’s Tree Army by some, due to the 3 billion trees planted by the CCC in a major reforestation plan for the country. The CCC was responsible for over 1/2 of the country’s reforestation.
Dedicated to all CCC enrollees who were injured, disabled or lost their lives performing their duties. Especially those 228 CCC members who lost their lives in the three Upper Keys Camps, Florida on 2 September 1935 in the Labor Day Hurricane.
It’s a neat, little museum, and the volunteer I spoke with served at Eielson AFB in 1958, before Alaska was granted statehood. There were several volunteers there who had been involved with the CCC as young men. A common theme was that they had lied about their age to get in; also that it did them a world of good. One mentioned that a side effect of the CCC program was that the majority of those men were later involved in WWII, and that the CCC allowed them to adapt to the military rather quickly. Something I had not considered before.
Noted CCC alums: Alvin C. York, Raymond Burr, Robert Mitchum, Chuck Yeager, Stan Musial, and Walter Matthau.