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Hard Work and a Good Deal

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota

Barbara W. Sommer

Publication Year: 2008

Hard Work and a Good Deal traces the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which supplied jobs to more than 77,000 Minnesotans during the Great Depression. Nearly one hundred interviews contribute to oral historian Barbara W. Sommer's lively narrative as the "boys" look back on their time in the CCC, during which many of them became men. African American enrollees tell of the segregated policies enforced in the army-run camps; workers for the CCC-Indian Division remember reservation projects that included rebuilding a fur trade-era stockade at Grand Portage. Together, these men give voice to early efforts that advanced the conservation of Minnesota's natural resources five decades in a few short years.

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press

CONTENTS

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pp. vi-

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. viii-

Writing and publishing a book is both an individual and a collaborative process. Many people have tirelessly supported and assisted in this book’s development, answering questions, providing information, tracking down photographs, and helping with all the tasks that...

p1: THE CCC TAKES SHAPE

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INTRODUCTION: The Quiet Change

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pp. 5-6

In 1933, a quiet change began in Minnesota and elsewhere across the country. One governmental program—part of an “alphabet soup” of New Deal programs started by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression—offered hope to young men...

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1: Why We Need the CCC

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pp. 7-14

At first, Minnesotans didn’t know they needed the CCC. Even before Minnesota became a state in 1858, people were drawn to the area’s rich natural resources. Tall stands of trees, good soil, and navigable rivers beckoned. The state gradually built an economy...

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2: What was the CCC?

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pp. 15-28

In November 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover to become president of the United States, taking the oath of office on March 4, 1933. In his inaugural address, as another bank panic raged, he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear...

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3: Who Joined Minnesota’s CCC?

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pp. 29-38

Minnesota’s CCC enrollees were much like those in other states. Juniors, or “boys,” made up the largest category. Enrollment guidelines stated that each had to be among the “needy unemployed,” unmarried, between the ages of eighteen and...

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4: A Home Away from Home

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pp. 39-54

The CCC was established so quickly that camps were not actually ready for the first enrollees. The flurry of activity at Fort Snelling was followed, at least at first, by a trip to an empty site...

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5: Life in the CCC

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pp. 55-74

Reactions to life in a CCC camp varied from one enrollee to the next. Sergeant P. J. Halloran’s first impression was that it was “lonely and desolate and cold as hell.” John Cackoski said, “As far as camp was concerned, you couldn’t beat it. It was ideal for...

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p2: THE WORK OF THE CCC

By the time the CCC was founded in 1933,Americans were beginning to recognize the need to care for natural resources.This concept was not new. As early as the 1820s, writers, artists, and intellectuals...

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INTRODUCTION: Minnesota’s Conservation Foundations

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pp. 77-82

By the time the CCC was founded in 1933,Americans were beginning to recognize the need to care for natural resources.This concept was not new. As early as the 1820s, writers, artists, and intellectuals...

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6: Planting Trees and Fighting Fires

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pp. 83-98

The CCC’s impact on the environment was perhaps greatest in Minnesota’s forests. Most camps in Minnesota were located on federal or state forestlands. CCC work programs focused not...

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7: Building Up Parks

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pp. 99-108

State and federal forests weren’t the only public lands to benefit from CCC labor. Many enrollees also worked in Minnesota’s state parks. Minnesota was one of the first states in the country to develop a park system, with the first state memorial site established...

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8: Preserving Soil, Water, and Traditions

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pp. 109-122

The men and boys of the CCC did much to conserve parks and forests in Minnesota. But their work protecting and preserving the state’s soil, water, and traditions was just as important.Through soil conservation programs, CCC enrollees kept wind and water from...

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9: The CCC’s Imprint on Minnesota

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pp. 123-135

The CCC’s impact was great, and even in its day the program was popular. Despite political difficulties that surrounded many other New Deal “alphabet” programs, the CCC received support both from the general population and from conservation administrators....

APPENDIX I:

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pp. 136-163

APPENDIX II

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pp. 164-165

APPENDIX III

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pp. 166-167

NOTES

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pp. 168-181

ORAL HISTORY SOURCE NOTE

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pp. 182-185

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 186-195

INDEX

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pp. 196-204

ILLUSTRATION CREDITS

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pp. 205-


E-ISBN-13: 9780873517355
E-ISBN-10: 0873517350
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873516129
Print-ISBN-10: 0873516125

Page Count: 205
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: 1

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Subject Headings

  • Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.) -- Minnesota -- History.
  • Conservation of natural resources -- Minnesota -- History.
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