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a contingent of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
was a warm sunny day when two hundred young men, dressed in wool Army
's of World War I vintage, stepped off the train to embark into new
in these cut-over lands.
were a rather sad looking lot in their ill fitting, wrinkled, olive
garb. A couple of Army Officers and a few non-coms formed the group
ranks and off they went up the gravel road. Without any prior military
drill, theirs was a rather disorderly parade as they marched along, a
of dust hung over them as they trudged north to the area that is today
the site of the extensive gravel pit north of the town.
field kitchen had been set up by an advance unit, but there was little
else. As the boys arrived Army personnel dispersed tents for each of
eight man units, each unit being responsible to clear their tent area.
The area was marked, allowing so many feet for each tent and street
in front, and so the work of clearing the brush and trees growing up in
these areas began. The tools available were axes, shovels, grub hoes,
picks. The area was for the most part covered with brush, a few poplar
trees possibly four to five inches in diameter, a few old pine stumps,
and numerous rocks.
were maybe a dozen or so local boys who followed the CCC's up from town
and we watched in amusement, and some contempt, as these 'city1 boys,
men some of whom had never even seen a double bit axe, chew away in
as they sought to cut down a tree four inches in diameter !
a series of ill armed whacks, which covered an area two feet up and
the tree, three or four of them then pushed mightily on the tree,
breaking it so it toppled over.
Wolff of Lakewood was one of the first company of CCC's. Bill stayed on
when the CCC's came to an end, working for the U.S. Forestry until his
retirement. Bill told me that the tent area he was assigned to
a large pine stump, and with the inadequate tools so provided, they
not remove that stump! Their only solution was to put up the tent with
the stump left in the middle, their eight cots simply set up in a
Camp at Crooked Lake typifies the 'homes' of the CCC boys who came to
area in the 1930's.
Wolff recalled his days spent in camp, he also said they lived in those
tents until the first until the first week of December ! The wood
for their stoves was mostly cedar, a notorious wood for throwing
which was the cause of several of these tents burning completely to the
ground. The young men received $30 a month of which they were allowed
the rest to be sent home to their parents, many of the young men could
not take this way of life which was harsher and more demanding than the
life -style they had previously known and so after serving their six
term they departed.
late 20's saw the last of the commercial logging in this area. The
30's found the Town of Armstrong and surrounding Towns a wasteland.
every spring and early fall kept nature from replenishing the plundered
lands, people finding it difficult to even find enough wood to fuel
stoves and heaters.
to imagine standing atop Hager Mountain on our County W East where
is a visibility of 10 miles and not see a tree over six inches in
. . That is the way our entire countryside once looked.