Friday, December 22, 2017

Originally Woodland Park CCC Camp builds roads, fights fire, manages floods and more

Work leads to improved physical condition, 

heightened morale, and increased employability

 By Rob Carrigan,

Saylor Park, described as a beautiful spot fourteen miles north and east of Woodland Park, and approximately eight miles west of Palmer Lake — on what was then the largest national forest in the country, the Pike — was the location of formation. Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Company 1819, later to become Camp F-14-C, was organized here starting June 26, 1933.
"Instead of finding neatly constructed barracks already prepared for them, the men were given tents to erect, and until these were erected the men slept in the open at an altitude of 9,000 feet," reported a 1938 history of the CCC. "The first few weeks, meals were served in the open under an Aspen tree, with no shelter to protect the men from rain or wind, during meal time."
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried, men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments.
The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men, and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. At the same time, it implemented a general natural resource conservation program in every state and territory. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Over the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 a month, ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).
"A number of projects were started shortly after the camp had been constructed and organized to some extent. Timber stand improvement was perhaps the major project undertaken the first summer. A side camp was established at the Monument Nursery doing nursery work and a road was constructed from Woodland Park to the camp," according to CCC records.
"Early in November of 1933, due to the high altitude and existing weather conditions, the company moved to Manitou Springs, for the winter months."
During that winter, road work began on an important project.
"A purposed road project from Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs up over Bald Mountain by way of Williams Canyon to connect with Mount Herman Road a few miles North of Woodland Park," was described. "This project has been named and designated as the 'Rampart Range Road.'"
Also, at about the same time, work began on a series of flood control dams on Fountain Creek in Ute Pass above Manitou Springs. In the process, a number o model relief maps were made in the camp, that were used for years later, and even today, in the Pikes Peak region.
"On June 1, 1934, the main camp was moved back to Saylor Park for the summer and construction was started on a road north from Saylor Park to Devils Head. Several other projects as rodent control, timber stand improvement, and fence and trail construction, were carried on during the summer.  A side camp composed of from sixty to eighty men had been left in Manitou Springs to continue to work on Dams "One" and "Four." A side camp was also maintained at the Monument Nursery doing nursery work," records indicate.
But just as Norman Maclean, the great writer of forests and men sent into them, noted, “time was just a hangover from the past with no present meaning.”
"Due to the severe drought during the summer of 1934, a great fire hazard was created. The later part of June the entire company was ordered out on a fire known as the "Tarryall Fire," on the Tarryall range of mountains. At altitudes of ten and and eleven thousand feet, in the most rugged part of the mountains, fire fighting was extremely dangerous. During the fire, men worked from eighteen to twenty hours per shift, with occasionally no meals, and the best bed one could secure consisted of one or two blankets with the nearest tree for shelter," according the CCC history written in 1938.
"On Memorial Day of 1935, one of the worst floods known in the Pikes Peak region took place in Colorado Springs. Immediately the entire company was taken to Colorado Springs to aid the flood victims to safety, and later help guard property and regulate traffic. A good many of the victims were housed and fed in the camp until they could be cared for otherwise."
In the summer of 1935, Camp 1819 headquartered at Manitou Springs, and a new side camp of nearly fifty men at Watson Park worked on Devils Head fire lookout. Another side camp continued work at the Monument Nursery through the summer, and a crew of about 100 men worked from the main camp tasked with flood control in the Ute Pass area.
"In early fall of 1935, the Jackson Creek side camp moved to Manitou Springs, and had by this time broken through with the Devils Head road to the Denver Highway," said CCC records.
"The Monument side camp remained at the Monument Nursery all winter. Work at the nursery consisted of mulching the tree beds and clearing another plot of ground which made the nursery twice as large and necessitated an increase in men at that side camp to take care of additional work. During the winter months another side camp was maintained at Woodland Park doing timber survey work in that area. As the first month of 1936 had slipped by, the series of flood control dams in the Ute Pass has been completed. Dam 'Eight' at Crystola being the last. After the completion of the dams, all men went to work on the 'Rampart Range Road.'"
In the summer of 1936, and on through the year, the camp continued to grow its presence at the Monument Nursery, and another side camp was working at Glen Cove, and others doing timber survey work in the Woodland Park area. During the winter of '36 and '37, men from main camp concentrated on finishing the lower portion of Rampart Range Road.
The side camp work continued during next years, with the establishment of sewer system at Glen Cove, additional participation in work at the Monument Nursery, with the eventual re-establishment of Company 3810 from Texas at Monument. The main camp moved out of Manitou Springs eventually back to its former home of Company F-64-C in Saylor Park and three side camps continued to operate, by 1938.
"Since its inception in June 1933, nearly eleven hundred-fifty men have been enrolled or transferred into the company. Of that number, more than nine hundred men have returned to civilian life in thirteen state. During the more than five years of its life, the company has been station within fifty miles of its birthplace at Saylor Park, Colorado. A great deal of valuable work has been completed which will long stand as a monument to the unstinted efforts of all members of the enrolled and supervisory personnel."
The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. An individual's enrollment in the CCC was said to lead to improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. The CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.

Photo information:
1. Workers of CCC Company F-64-C canting timber.
2. Building roads was a big part of the local efforts.
3. Replanting trees without modern equipment was labor intensive.
4. August 8, 1934 call to muster, at CCC camp near Monument Rock.

1 comment:

Michael said...

That's my grandfather, William "Bill" Rutherford helping lift that log in the first photograph. I'm not sure where you obtained the image but I'm tickled to see it. He was a USFS foreman and supervisor in CCC and FERA camps from 1933 to 1942. He wasn't at the Saylor/Woodland Park camp so far as I know and I believe that photo was taken down by Wuanita Hot Springs in 1933.