A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps
Kendallville, IN – Upper Peninsula based author Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Kendallville Public Library on Saturday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.
Jamerson's program will include stories, a short video, reading excerpts from his novel and playing original songs with his guitar. Jamerson has presented his program at CCC reunions, and at CCC built state and national parks around the country. March 31 marks the 80th anniversary of the CCC.
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, over three and a half million young men between the ages of 17 and 25 years of age enlisted across the country. They were known as "Roosevelt's Tree Army" because they planted over three billion trees nationwide. The enrollees lived in work camps located far from towns and were paid a dollar a day. Twenty-five dollars a month was sent home directly to their families.
Some of the songs Bill performs include Chowtime, a fun look at the camp food, City Slicker, which tells of the mischief the young men get into in the woods, Borrowed Mom, is the story of an orphan who finds a mother, and Tree Plantin', Fire Fightin' Blues tells of the hardships of work. The folk songs range from heartwarming ballads to foot stomping jigs. The stories and songs are as educational as they are entertaining, as honest as they are fun.
In Indiana, over 63,000, 17-25 year old men in the Civilian Conservation Corps planted millions of trees, fought forest fires, improved rivers and streams, built roads and bridges. They also built state parks including Turkey Run,McCormick's Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Fort Harrison, Versailles and Mounds. The CCC engaged in many soil conservation programs for Indiana farmers, such as repairing gullies, terracing hills and introducing strip farming practices. The camps not only revitalized the state's natural resources but also taught the young men job skills and encouraged discipline.
Pokagon State Park was created in 1925. Through fundraising efforts, the citizens of the county purchased the first 580 acres (2.3 km2), much of it farmland, on the shores of Lake James. The county citizens donated this land to the Department of Conservation, State of Indiana, which added two additional parcels the following year, bringing the park up to 707 acres (2.9 km2). In 1927, the newly-christened Potawattomi Inn opened its doors.
In 1934, chapter 556 of the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived at Pokagon. During the ensuing 8 years, the CCC constructed many of the best-known buildings at Pokagon, including the Gate House, the Spring Shelter, the Saddle Barn, the first three editions of the toboggan run, and the CCC Shelter which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information about the program please call the library at 343-2010 or visit billjamerson.com.