Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began in 1933 as a part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal relief program.
A federal program, the CCC worked in connection with the U.S. Army, Depts. Of the Interior, Agriculture, and Labor, and the National Park Service to provide work relief for single, unemployed men between the ages of 18 and 25.
Later, World War I veterans were also allowed to join the CCC. Paid $30 a month, with $25 of the pay sent home to their families, the enrollees were housed in army-style camps and worked on forestry, soil reclamation, park construction, and fire suppression projects. Enrollees generally signed up for six-month stints. The CCC remained in operation until 1942, when World War II diverted energies and money away from federal relief programs. Florida maintained an annual average of twenty-five CCC camps throughout the program’s existence. The Florida Park Service is an outgrown of the CCC.
The records of the CCC are at the National Archives, RG35. Camp Inspection reports are ARC565152, Florida is in box 43 (AF2 & AF3 – Keystone Heights, AF4 & AF5 – Camp Blanding) and box 44 (P65 – Green Cove Springs, SP5 – Gold Head State Park)
Several companies made improvements in Clay County:
Co. 416 & 418
African-American units at Camp Blanding. Co. 416 arrived on Mar 22, 1941 and worked on project Army-4. Co. 418 arrived May 1, 1941 and worked on project Army-5.
At an Army reservation at Keystone Heights working on project Army-1 (5/19/1941) and Army-3 (10/20-1941).
The Company arrived at private land in Green Cove Springs on June 29, 1933.
This history of Co. 1421 is detailed in FHQ Vol 65, No 4, April 1987: Roosevelt’s “Tree Army”: Roosevelt’s Tree Army: The Civilian Conservation Core of Florida.
“In the Shadow of the Mountain: the Spirit of the CCC” has some snippets about the CCC in Green Cove Springs.
This company built Gold Head State Park, and they were unusual, being an all-veteran unit.
Co. 4468 arrived at Keystone Heights on April 4, 1941 and worked on project Army-2