Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Local public television stations have films about "The CCC Boys"
At Big Meadows Visitor Center, the Park Service shows an episode from the “Living in Virginia” series of Virginia Public Television, “The C.C.C. Boys” (26 min, 1999).. VPT has this link.
During the Depression, in the middle 1930s, young men 18-25 were recruited to work in Civilian Conservation Corps camps around the country. The film shown here depicted the clearing of land and building of facilities in Shenandoah National Park, much of it actually planted as a paradise garden 3000 feet and higher.
Men lived in barracks ran by the Army, and followed military rules in housekeeping and inspections, and life was quite regimented. Passes were allowed to go into Shenandoah Valley towns on weekends.
Men were paid $30 a month, but $25 of that was sent to men’s parents back home to support other family members. In that era, adult children were considered responsible for supporting parents and siblings if able and if necessary.
However, a little underground economy developed in the barracks. Men could pay each other small change to get unpleasant chores done, which normally cannot be done in the military proper.
Men also built their own recreational facilities, like gyms and baseball fields.
West Virginia has a similar episode: