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Indiana and the CCC
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Indiana and the Civilian Conservation Corps

CCC logo

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established in 1933 as a program of the New Deal in FDR's first one hundred days. It was a public work relief program for unemployed single men, providing training, education and work for young men. It was designed to help curb high unemployment in urban areas as a result of the Great Depression. The program was also designed to conserve and develop the nations' natural resources, primarily forests and soil, but also wildlife and water resources. The average CCC enrollee was a single, unemployed male between the ages of 18-25 years. They lived in camps and received $30 a month as well as food, clothing and medical care. They were required to send home $22-25 to their families. At its zenith in 1935, the CCC had more than 500,000 enrollees in over 2,600 camps.

CCC typing class
CCC, Third Corps Area: typing class with WPA instructor
(Wikimedia Commons)

The CCC provided conservation work in every state, as well as the territories of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Work projects varied from state to state. They included bridges, fire towers, service buildings, roads, trails, small reservoirs and dams, and soil terracing. The CCC also was involved in flood control, providing irrigation, drainage, ditching and channel work. But the first and primary goal of the CCC was forest culture, including the planting of trees and shrubs, timber stand improvement, seed collection and nursery work. That also included forest protection, such fire prevention, fire fighting and insect and disease control. Between 1933 and 1942 the CCC was responsible for planting more than 2 billion trees, slowing soil erosion on 40 million acres of farmland and developing 800 new state parks. It constructed 13,000 miles of hiking trails and almost 1 million miles of fence. It stocked rivers with 1 million fish. During its existence, the CCC planted 2.3 million trees, or 12 for every Depression era American. This represents half of the trees planted in U. S. History. The national media nicknamed the CCC "Roosevelt's Tree Army." As the CCC progressed, its work included the conservation of human resources by developing recreation and outdoor facilities in parks, public camps, picnic grounds, shelters, rest areas and creating lake and ponds.

The CCC became one of the most popular New Deal programs among the general public. It provided work and training for a total of 3 million men. The CCC also provided a program for conservation of the nation's natural resources. The CCC was never meant to be a permanent program and depended on emergency and temporary legislation for its funding and existence. With the world war approaching, more emphasis was given to projects related national defense. Although President Roosevelt wanted to continue the CCC, it was abolished it in 1942.

Selected Resources

CCC poster

Bloom, P. (November/December 2008). ""Boys" to men: Civilian Conservation Corps, hard corps work forged lives and parks." Outdoor Indiana Magazine. Wells Library, ET2--Indiana Collection. HC 107 .I6O9.

Couch, P. E. (1944). Educational emphasis in civilian conservation camps of the seventh corps area. Bloomington:Indiana University.

Brown mss Papers 1933-1955. Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Maher, N. M. (2008). Nature's new deal : the Civilian Conservation Corps and the roots of the American environmental movement. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. Business/SPEA Information Commons (B-BUSSPEA) S930 .M155 2008

Salmond, J. A. (1967). The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942; a New Deal case study. Durham, N.C.:Duke University Press. Wells Library SD143 .S17

Quigley, B. (2005). African Americans and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Traces of Indiana & Midwestern History.17(1):44-47

Map of Indiana showing state forests and game pres[erves] in charge of or having C.C.C. camps under the direction of the Division of forestry. (1939). Indiana Division of Forestry. Indianapolis: Wm. B. Burford pts. co.

Wenzl, A. K. (2003). The implementation and impact of the National Park Service's design guidelines on Civilian Conservation Corp [i.e. Corps] stonework in Indiana's state parks. Thesis/dissertation. Not owned at IU.

Find others by using IUCAT or IU WorldCat, using the subject: Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.)--History.

Articles indexes are found in America: History and Life: http://www.libraries.iub.edu/scripts/countResources.php?resourceId=14

Online Resources

"Spirit of CCC". The original was a 4x6 foot oil painting, created by Harry Rossoll in 1938. Harry Rossoll later became well known as one of the artists of Smoky Bear.

Indiana Historical Society has several CCC collections:

The Indiana State Park System owes much of its history to the CCC:

"Indiana State Parks traces its history back to 1916. Colonel Richard Lieber, an Indianapolis businessman and German immigrant, recommended that a state park system be created as part of Indiana's celebration of its centennial. Lieber became a national leader in the state parks movement and assisted other states in forming their own systems as well. He became the first Director of the Indiana Department of Conservation, serving for more than a decade."

"One of the very special things about our state park system and its rich history lies in the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Many of the roads, shelters, restrooms, gatehouses, and bridges etc. still in use today were built by these young men during the Great Depression. We still marvel at the craftsmanship, the simple, rustic design and the way these facilities have remained to set the tone for all that has followed."


U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service

Includes links to interactive databases of CCC members, links to a number of projects state by state and to the map below:
Map of CCC Projects

"The New Deal" in Indiana

Non-Authoriative websites: