The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Indiana State Parks

Have you ever been to an Indiana State Park, like the one in Brown County? Maybe took in the toboggan ride at the Pokagon in Angola? Hiked the trails at Spring Mill? Ridden your bicycles on the trails? Camped? Swam? If so, give thanks to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) program of Indiana of the 1930s.

After the stock market crash of 1929, and under the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the federal government created the New Deal. It consisted of programs to help the country’s economy get back on its feet and working again. One program was the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was also the most popular.

The program enlisted young men between the ages of 18 and 25. They could sign up for a renewable six-month term and earned $30 (of which $25 was sent to their families) and lived in company camps. During the life of the program in the 1930s, about 64,000 enlistees helped to build Indiana’s state parks.

Under the command of the U.S. Army, the CCC’s mission was to teach land management, soil conservation and park construction. Indiana benefited greatly from this program, giving us a wide array of state parks.

The Indiana State Library has a large collection of newsletters from various CCC camps.  You can find some of them in our growing digital collections. These rare newsletters, often printed by the camp’s journalism group, provided information about the camp, events, activities, educational opportunities, poetry, short stories, cartoons, humor and sports.

For further information, check out these websites about the CCC program in Indiana:
Indiana State Parks: History and Culture
Building Indiana State Parks – Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration
“We Can Take It!”: Race and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Indiana, 1934 to 1941
The Civilian Public Service Camp Program in Indiana (Indiana Magazine of History)
Indiana State Parks

This blog post was written by Christopher Marshall, digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Christopher.

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