Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Interpretive Site
Opens at South Cumberland State Park’s Grundy Day Loop
Community leaders, park rangers, Friends of South Cumberland State Park (SCSP) volunteers, and community members were on hand on April 12th to celebrate the opening of the Company 1475 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp interpretive site, situated along the Grundy Day Loop in the Tracy City area of the South Cumberland State Park. This project was partially funded by an SCCF grant awarded to the Friends of SCSP in 2017, and the Fund is thrilled to have been a part of this exciting new development for the Park.
As part of the New Deal established during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, Civilian Conservation Corps Camps were created in rural areas across the country to provide employment for young, unmarried men, with work focused on conservation of natural resources and infrastructure support in these regions. This initiative turned out to be one of the most popular programs of the New Deal, and led to greater public awareness of the outdoors and the importance of protecting the nation’s natural resources.
Tracy City’s CCC Camp features 13 panels placed at important locations around the site that describe the daily life of the camp. Company 1475 was located at this site from 1935 to 1938, with portable buildings that included barracks for 200 men, a mess hall, kitchen, bath house and latrine, ice house, and a number of other structures. Employees were provided with food, clothing, and shelter and $30 per month pay, $25 of which was sent home to their families. Most of the work performed was manual labor, such as building fire towers, a dam to create Grundy Lakes, and a variety of other tasks designed to improve the rural infrastructure of the region. Appreciation for the men of Company 1475 was permanently embedded in the hearts of Tracy City residents when they arrived on the scene to help fight the terrible fire of April 1935, which burned more than half of the downtown area.
In 1938 work was completed on the Grundy Lakes project and the camp was moved to Franklin County Forest, eventually closing down in 1942 due to U. S. engagement in World War II and the mandatory draft. The majority of the portable buildings were ultimately used to serve the war effort, but portions of two buildings were combined and can be found in-use today as the Sewanee Community Center.
Many thanks are due to the numerous community volunteers and South Cumberland Plateau AmeriCorps VISTAs who labored for two years to bring this exciting exhibit to fruition. SCCF highly recommends taking time to visit this important piece of local history.
Learn more about the CCC Interpretive Area Project @ http://www.friendsofsouthcumberland.org/ccc.html