HHH plans a musical tribute to Civilian Conservation Corps

Published 10:48 am Monday, May 9, 2016

Residents will get a chance to learn about the Civilian Conservation Corps on Tuesday.

Michigan-based author/songwriter Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program for History Happy Hour about the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Hormel Historic Home in Austin on Tuesday evening s tarting with light snacks and a social time at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation at 6 p.m.

The presentation includes telling stories, reading excerpts from his novel, showing a video clip from his PBS film and performing original songs with his guitar.

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He has presented at CCC reunions around the country and at dozens of state and national parks. The program is as entertaining as it is important; as honest as it is fun. It is about people both ordinary and extraordinary, with stories of strength, wit and charm.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a federal works program created by President Franklin Roosevelt in the heart of The Great Depression. During its nine year run from 1933-1942, 2.6 million men enrolled across the country including eighty six thousand in Minnesota. An average of 51 camps operated in Minnesota each year with a total financial obligation of 85 million dollars. The nearest camps to Austin were in Rochester, Spring Valley, Chatfield and Preston.

The men came into nearby towns on weekends and patronized stores, movie theaters, billiard rooms, bowling alleys, saloons, dance halls, and churches. Many enrollees met their wives while in camp. The enrollees spent approximately $5,000 a month in nearby communities, helping the local economy during the depths of The Great Depression.

The Corps planted over 180 million trees in Minnesota, fought hundreds of forest fires, released several billion fingerlings in rivers and lakes, built hundreds of dams and bridges and constructed thousands of miles of roads. They also built many state parks including St. Croix, Lacqui Parie, Gooseberry Falls, Whitewater, Interstate, Flandrau and Itasca State Park. Camp Rabideau in Blackduck, north of Bemidji, is still standing and contains many original CCC buildings.

It is one of the finest camp restorations in the nation. The Corps also built several bridges north of Duluth on Highway 66. The CCC camps not only revitalized Minnesota’s natural resources but also turned the boys into men by giving them discipline and teaching them work skills.

History Happy Hour is presented by the Hormel Historic Home, the Austin Public Library and the Mower County Historical Society.

Free to members of the Hormel Historic Home, Friends of the Library, and the Mower County Historical Society.  $5 for non-members.