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The CCC was the Civilian Conservation Corps, designed for young men aged 18-25. The program was designed to put these young men to work when they had few other prospects. Few young men at that time could afford college and the armed forces had little demand for new recruits. With no work available elsewhere, these young men might otherwise be a burden to their parents or be tempted to engage in unlawful activity.
Those enrolled in the corps lived in barracks as if in the military. They were also required to wear uniforms to work. Their work consisted primarily of conservation, including planting trees, developing parks, stocking fish ponds, flood and erosion control, even mosquito control. Those participating in the program were paid $30.00 per month. A substantial amount of this was sent home to the young man's parents and a smaller portion deposited in a savings account for the future. Each enrollee was allowed only a small amount of spending money which he would otherwise be apt to lose in "nights on the town." Among those who worked under the program were Adm. Hyman Rickover, Actor Raymond (Perry Mason) Burr, and baseball great Stan Musial.
A personal friend worked for the CCC in Texas on a road building crew. Since the idea was to keep young men working and efficiency was secondary, he said they were required to fill a dump truck using nothing more than hand shovels.
Many of the state parks in Texas were originally CCC-designated projects. There are twenty-nine parks total in Texas that were part of the CCC initiative. Two favorites are Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas and Possum Kingdom. Possum Kingdom was the last CCC project to be worked on in Texas from 1941 to 1942, and the Corps were responsible for clearing the park area, building the campsites, all the picnic tables and cook sites, the rangers' cabin, designing and implementing all of the utilities (water and electricity), as well as more than seven miles worth of road. The Corps actually had plans for additional improvements, but the start of World War II took precedence over those plans.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has put together a really great website full of information about original CCC projects from the New Deal. Their site has pictures, relevant historical information, and many great primary source documents, like oral histories and original sketches.
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