Tuesday, January 10, 2012
History of the Madera Canyon, Arizona, CCC Camp
Here's a short history of the Madera Canyon CCC camp; I've written a more extensive history if you're interested in more details.
History of the Madera Canyon Camp: Madera Canyon was home to CCC Camp F-30-A from 1933 to 1938 and CCC companies 1838, 1826-V, and 2848. The enrollees at Madera Canyon came from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Texas. The “V” in Co. 1826’s designation meant that this was a company composed of WWI veterans, who were older than other enrollees and often married.
Work Projects: The camp work projects fell into two main areas: conservation of the watershed and forest, and development of recreational facilities.
Camp Life: The enrollees had an active camp life, with the rec hall the center of recreational activities. They held dances, open to outsiders; enjoyed film nights; read books and newspapers; celebrated holidays with special meals and entertainment programs; and played pool and checkers. Sports were an important part of camp life, including volleyball, softball, croquet, horseshoes, and track and field. They took field trips to nearby towns for rodeos, dances, sightseeing, and athletic contests.
The camp newspapers were a way to build camp morale and literacy skills; they are also a chance for the enrollees to get in some good-natured ribbing towards each other. “Tommie Gavagen says he is going to take his bed with him next time he goes to Phoenix. When he came home the other day, the boys in barracks four had removed the springs that held the mattress, and put strings instead.”
Value of the CCC: The camp newspaper summed up the enduring contribution the Madera Canyon CCC men made to this area: “This work, once done, will live on after we have left the canyon, and will still be a source of pleasure to tired seekers for relaxation, rest and recreation . . . we will realize more fully in the future that the work we did in the shadow of the mountains was not done in vain.”