by Marty Podskoch
Sponsored by the Ashford Historical Society and the Babcock Library
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
25 Pompey Hollow Rd
Ashford, CT 06278
On November 15th at 7pm (doors open at 6:30), the Ashford Historical Society in partnership with the Babcock Library, will host author and historian Marty Podskoch who will give a Power Point presentation on the 90th Anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camps and its work in CT.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. CCC camps were set up in a few Connecticut towns, state parks, & forests. Workers built trails, roads, campsites, & dams, stocked fish, built & maintained fire tower observer’s cabins & telephone lines, fought fires, & planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.
In Connecticut there were 21 CCC camps. In the first year 13 camps were set up in these Connecticut towns & state parks & forests: West Cornwall, Housatonic Meadows; Niantic, Military Reservation; Hampton, Natchaug; Haddam, Cockaponset; Union, Nipmuck; New Fairfield, Squantz Pond; Cobalt, Meshomasic; Voluntown, Pachaug; Thomaston, Black Rock; East Hartland, Tunxis; West Goshen, Mohawk; Clinton, Cockaponset; and Burrville, Paugnut. The Army Government Dock in New London was the supply depot for all the CT camps.
In the following years these eight camps were added: Winsted, American Legion State Forest; East Hampton, Salmon River; Danbury, Wooster Mountain; Stafford Springs, Shenipsit; Portland, Meshomasic; Windsor/Poquonock, Experiment Station Land; Kent, Macedonia Brook and Madison, Cockaponset.
Enrollees signed up for 6 months and worked a 40-hour week for $30/mo. The government sent $25 to the enrollee’s family and the enrollee received $5. The young men received good food, uniforms, and medical care. At first they lived in tents; later they lived in wooden buildings. These young men and special camps for war veterans were able to help their families and now had a sense of worth.
In Connecticut, enrollees built trails, roads, campsites & dams, stocked fish, built & maintained fire towers, observer’s cabins & telephone lines, fought fires, and planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.
Nationwide, enrollees planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways. In nine years, 2.5 million young men participated in restoring public appreciation of the outdoors.
Marty Podskoch is a retired teacher and the author of 11 books: Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Their History, Memories and Legacy of the CCC; Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Southern Districts; Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Northern Districts, Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches; 101 More Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches; The Adirondack 102 Club: Your Passport & Guide to the North Country. He also writes a weekly column called “Adirondack Stories,” in five Adirondack newspapers. He has written three travel books: The Adirondack 102 Club, The Connecticut 169 Club and the Rhode Island 39 Club. Marty and his wife Lynn raised their three children in an old farmhouse on the West Branch of the Delaware River in Delhi, NY where he taught 7th grade Reading. He and his wife now live on Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton, Conn. He is presently gathering information on the CCC camps in VT & MA for future books. Podskoch is keenly interested in meeting individuals who may have CCC stories and photos to contribute to his next book. Those that have information should contact him at 860-267-2442 or firstname.lastname@example.org