Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not So Old West...!

One of the more successful programs to ever help the areas of the "Old West" began with the CCC.

Many national parks were improved or created by this group and, thanks to their efforts, many of the places we now consider a major part of our history are alive and well!

Apr 10, 1933:
Civilian Conservation Corps created

The Civilian Conservation Corps, a tool for employing young men and improving the government's vast holdings of western land, is created in Washington, D.C.

One of the dozens of New Deal programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was primarily designed to put thousands of unemployed young men to work on useful public projects. Roosevelt put the program under the direction of his Secretary of Interior, Harold Ickes, who became an enthusiastic supporter.

Since the vast majority of federal public land was in the West, Ickes created most of his CCC projects in that region. The young men who joined, however, came from all over the nation. It was the first time many had left their homes in the densely populated eastern states. Many of them later remembered their time spent in the wide-open spaces of the West with affection, and many later returned to tour the region or become residents.

Participation in the CCC was voluntary, although the various camps often adopted military-like rules of discipline and protocol. Ickes put his CCC "armies" to work on a wide array of conservation projects. Some young men spent their days planting trees in national forests, while others built roads and dams, fought forest fires, or made improvements in national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone. In exchange for their labor, the CCC men received a minimal wage, part of which was automatically sent to their families back home. The program thus provided employment for unskilled young men while simultaneously pumping federal money into the depressed national economy.

The training provided by the CCC proved particularly valuable to the 77,000 Indian and Hispanic youths who worked in the Southwest. Many of these young men left the CCC able to drive and repair large trucks and tractors, skills that proved highly employable during WWII. Likewise, many former CCC enlistees found the transition to life as a WWII soldier eased by their previous experience with military-like discipline.

Despite the rigid regimentation and low pay, the CCC remained popular with both enlistees and the public throughout its history. By the time Congress abolished the agency in 1942, more than two million men had served, making the CCC one of the most successful government training and employment projects in history

I can't help but believe that a program similar to this would benefit us all today. But first, we would have to figure out how to keep the government guys from being in charge.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Looks like the wind has died down some!


Baby Sis said...

Bubba -
I agree totally with you. Make it mandatory to work in a program like this, picking up trash, replenishing forests, planting and picking crops, before one could receive welfare or food stamps. Of course, there would be some who could not participate, mothers with young children, old guys, disabled, but there are things they could do as well. Put a Texan in charge, and we'll take care of it! Husband's dad worked for CCC for awhile, I think, then for the City of San Antonio afterwards. As you say, training paid off.
Good post! Big hugs -

Anonymous said...

My Dad's old partner, an architect and long deceased, drew up stone cabin floor plans for the Texas CCC back in the 1930's for some state parks. I wish I had kept the plans but I didn't know their history. I'll bet the state archives would have been interested in them.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Back when I was growing up in Pennsylvania, a friend of mine had purchased part of an old CCC camp and turned it into a hunting camp or just a place to get away from the everyday routine. The CCC group did a lot of good, not only in the West, but also in the East.

Bob from Athens said...

"the CCC men received a minimal wage, part of which was automatically sent to their families back home"

While this statement is correct, it doesn't really tell the total story. My Uncle was in the CCC and worked here in Texas, he sent 3/4's of his pay home, or more correctly the government sent it home for him, he didn't have a lot to say about it. He never complained about, it kept his family fed during some hard times. He only made about $40 or $50 a month, not much now, but a large amount then.

JO said...

We have several beautifull parks and National Lands that were built by the guys of the CCC. The work is the best you will ever find. Small bridges across stream have stood thru terrible floods. It was a great gift to unemployed men.

I'm hoping the wind has left us also.
It will be nice to sit out agian.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sis...
Of all the things that the CCC offered, the training was the most important!

The program was better than most of what we have today!

Thanks, sis, for coming over today!

Hey Anon 7:42...
No telling what those plans would be worth today!

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Hey Dizzy...
I rented one of the stone cabins built by them in Lampasas. Pretty snug!

I think the program did a lot of good back then!

Thanks, buddy, for coming over today!

Hey Bob...
I'm sure that many families depended on that money to get by! Sure better than a handout!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Jo...
Seems like for the most part, the CCC did some very good work indeed!

Most of it held up well!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over this morning!

linda m said...

I really like what Baby Sis said. If you want welfare /food stamps you must work for it. Have a nice day.

butterbean carpenter said...

Howdy Hermit,
Very nice blog on the CCC today and you're right about the training programs; the ones who 'took' were able to begin after WWII to build corporations who built the Federal highways and Interstate systems..
With the type of youth we have now unless the 'work' had to do with 'twiddling' thumbs, they'd be lost on how to do anything, especially physical!!
You do know that CC stood for Camp Cooking Complaints; there was another 'workforce', The WPA, which stood for We Piddle Around!

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
Seems like most folks would want to, but today that's not the case!

Too many folks are used to just being given support without having to do anything!

I really appreciate you coming over today!

Hey Butter Bean...
Even in the real world today, training can really make a difference. Trouble is the folks that need it the most seem to not want it!

How can we help folks that won't help themselves?

Thanks for coming over today!

Hermit Ladee said...

My husband's father was in the CCC. My husband said his father told him he only made a dollar a day. But back then, along with the garden and livestock, it was enough to keep his family going!