Fort Necessity

Civilian Conservation Corps 75th Anniversary

brochure Fort Necessity - Civilian Conservation Corps 75th Anniversary
Fort Necessity National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Fort Necessity National Battlefield Civilian Conservation Corps 75th Anniversary On March 31st, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered “An Act for the relief of unemployment through the performance of useful public work, and for other purposes…” This Act helped to create the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) program, later renamed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC began as part of Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ and ran until 1942. It was an organization created to give young men (mostly between 18 and 25 years old) a chance for income and productive work when jobs were scarce. Men involved in the camps enlisted for 6 month intervals and were able to serve up to 2 years. The pay rate was $30.00 per month. $25.00 of the pay was sent home to families and dependents of the enlisted men. This would be approximately equivalent to $375-400 today CCC Living at Fort Necessity In the spring of 1935, the first CCC camp set up at Fort Necessity consisted of about seventy men from the Uniontown area. The camp lasted for 2 ½ years and eventually turned 850 boys into men. Of this number, 250 boys were from the south. The first group of enrollees was issued surplus Army tents for their camp. They remained quartered in these tents until wooden barracks were built before winter. The tents could hold up to 32 cots. When completed, the permanent camp was ‘U’shaped with a flag in the center. It consisted of seven barracks, a mess hall, Army officers’ quarters, civilian supervisors’ quarters, food storage building, a pump house, a blacksmith shop and a garage. Recreation and education were a priority. Both played a very important part in the life of an enrollee. A library was started. Dances were scheduled and a newspaper was published. Education was voluntary but was offered to all whom were interested. The discipline learned here helped to prepare the men for military life in WWII. They also learned a trade in which they could use the rest of their lives. Park Improvements Before the National Park Service administered Fort Necessity, previous owners had timbered all of the property. There was a time when you could look down onto the battlefield from Route 40. No trees would impede your view. One major job the CCC did was to reforest the park. They planted pine and other evergreen trees throughout the property. Unfortunately, there were no pine trees at Fort Necessity in 1754 and these pine plantations created a confusing historic view shed to the visitor. Even though the pines are not historically correct, on hot summer days, it is always refreshing to stand under the shade of the pine plantations. Roads and Bridges The CCC was also responsible for building roads and bridges to allow the visitor to drive to the Fort and picnic area. As you drive around the park look for the beautiful hand cut stone work on the bridges and culverts Picnic Area The picnic area also showcases CCC work at Fort Necessity. They were responsible for building the picnic pavilions and the fireplaces. The fireplaces are now considered historic and we are no longer permitted to use them. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA A plantation of Norway Spruce on the hillside near Fort Necessity. Hardwood forest covered the hillside at the time of the battle. The public can still use the picnic pavilions, however. As you relax in the picnic area, take the time to remember all the hard work and contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Jun-08

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