Friday, January 2, 2009

Marion's Civilian Conservation Corp

Marion's Civilian Conservation Corps or the CCC Camp
Picture made in the summer of 1933. Names of men are unknown. Some look like a working crew with building tools in their hands, and perhaps a supervision officer.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an effort to help the nation from unemployment and economic chaos in 1932, created the Emergency Conservation Work Act, more commonly known as the Civilian Conservation Corps or the CCC's.
In May of 1933, Marion gets the news they they are to have a conservation camp from the forestry and soil erosion program to locate Marion.
Soon a site is selected and construction begins on the camp. Four barracks were constructed for the men to live in. A large recreation hall offered indoor entertainment; games, magazine, newspapers and also a canteen for all their personal wants and needs. A large kitchen and mess hall were built, as well as a bathhouse and medical facility. Out doors a ball diamond, basketball and tennis courts were made and also an amphitheater for out door spectator programs.
In July of 1933 one hundred and forty-eight men had arrived in camp. After working on the camp, the men next started their field work, which was the purpose of the camp at Marion. Correcting erosion of the soil and planting trees were the order of the day. Fields that had been eroded were repaired with culverts and new tree seeding were planted to help correct the problem. Over a period of time the men planted 120,000 black locusts, and 63 bushels of black walnut seedlings on the farms where they were needed. The men also helped with the repair of roads and other projects that had been created by the weather.
The work at the Marion site went on until 1935. In November of 1935 the camp had been emptied and the men sent somewhere else. Their mission in Crittenden County had been completed. The buildings were razed and the materials were all moved to other camps to be rebuilt. The land was returned to the former owners and Camp Marion was no more, even the streets and sidewalks had been removed. It was if the campsite had never been there.
Today the area is concrete lot with business buildings occupying the area, and the other land has homes built on it. The picture above is the only picture I have ever seen of the original camp. Camp Marion is now only a faint memory of Marion's past, but it's presence being here left a legacy to the people and to the land of Crittenden County.

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