News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle
January 2, 2020
Civilian Conservation Corps in Washington
The New Deal was a series of programs and projects established during the Great Depression by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that intended to return prosperity to the American people. During the first eight years of the Roosevelt administration, the government instituted a series of New Deal projects and programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The Civilian Conservation Corps was a national public work relief program that operated from 1933-1942 to provide jobs for many Americans. Known historically as The Great Depression, it was unmatched in its length and in the extensive poverty it caused on society. At the peak of the depression in 1932-33, approximately one third of the available labor force was unemployed. President Roosevelt got action from Congress on March 27, 1933 and the bill creating the CCC was signed four days later.
The very first camp was opened in April and by July there were close to 275,000 enrolled in 1,300 camps across the country. The CCC program moved so fast that in January 1935 there were 300,000 enrolled with the number swelling to 600,000 by the end of June. They lived in army style barracks and uniforms as if they were in the military and in most cases this prepared them for such a case.
The CCC crews left an enduring legacy that left an estimated 2.5 million youths who had enrolled in the CCC with learned skills and some obtained their high school diplomas. These men worked on up to 300 different types of work to learn a skill. They built bridges, fire towers, trails, roads, airport landing fields, irrigation and drainage ditches, and campgrounds. They also planted billions of trees. They did all this for $30 a month of which $25 was required to be sent home to their families.
Washington State Parks were built entirely by these CCC men. They built picnic areas, campgrounds, kitchen shelters, bathrooms, caretakers’ homes, observation towers and established miles of roads to the parks. They also built miles of trails as well as bridges and protective railings.
Twenty-eight men from the 4768th Company of the CCC began constructing a stone observation tower upon 2,409-foot Mount Constitution in Moran State Park on Orcas Island in August 1935. This stone observation tower designed by Seattle architect Ellsworth Storey (1879-1960). The tower, buildings, miles of trails, and numerous other improvements in Moran State Park took eight years by crews from the CCC's Camp Moran between 1933 and 1941. Moran State Park was donated to the state in 1921 by former Seattle mayor and shipbuilder Robert Moran (1857-1943).
Just a note of gratitude to all those who have made my life better here. I am thankful for the patience you have made in helping me adjust to a different lifestyle and attitude. My hope is that you, the readers of The Wahkiakum County Eagle, will have the best. I hope your best day in the past becomes the worst day ever for the rest of your lives. Best wishes to all for 2020.