Camp Crystal Lake (No. 74-S)
Of the
Civilian Conservation Corps
1933-1941



"The Great Depression" began in 1929 and within a short time most of the youth of our country and about 25% of all family wage earners were out of work.  To try and solve this problem, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and our government created the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Young men were given worthwhile, productive work in the American out of doors where their jobs involved hard labor on projects that to this day are recognized as being extremely worthwhile.

One such CCC camp was established on the east shore of White Sand Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin.  It was called Crystal Lake Camp and it was originally occupied in June of 1933.

A May 1936 camp inspection report says that 1st Lt. Kelly was Commander of the 1601st CCC Company.  Camp Doctor was 1st Lt. Brennan and mess officer was 2nd Lt. Hutchison.  The Chief Foreman was Jens Steiro.  The U.S. Army was in charge.  Most CCC officers had gotten their commissions through college ROTC.

At the time of the inspection there were 154 men living and working at the Camp.  The buildings which we are still using were called "Forestry and Army Quarters".  They had flush toilets and hot and cold water showers as well as a mess hall, a root cellar, and incinerator and a well for water.

There were many recreational activities.  Transportation to Minocqua for movies and dancing, baseball teams, boxing, horseshoes, volleyball, basketball, ping pong, billiards and swimming.  (The swimming regulations called for the Scout buddy system!)

They had a very heavy emphasis on fire safety with, among other things, 38 water barrels, 76 buckets and 70 ladders.

Their food was quite good but the meal cost was, by comparison with today's prices, incredible - .4368 per meal!

The Camp was in existence up to late 1941.  By this time most of the men and the leaders had left for duty in World War II but the work described in the May 1936 report was an investment in America that we can only admire today.

The men of the Crystal Lake Camp worked an area of 100,000 acres.  Some of the things they did were:

Helped the Trout Lake Nursery grow 11 million trees per year.
Built buildings for the Trout Lake Forestry Headquarters including the making of 4,000 concrete blocks.
Landscaped the Forestry Headquarters as well as the Woodruff Fish Hatchery and Lake Tomahawk Ranger Station.
Operated a sawmill cutting approximately 60,000 board feet of lumber.
Manned two fire towers
Maintained 60 miles of state forest roads and 30 miles of truck trails.
The young men of that day have set an excellent example for us!



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