Civilian Conservation Corps Reunion
Contact: Karen Beck-Herzog, 540-999-3300
Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright is pleased to announce that the park will again be hosting a Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni Reunion at Skyland, September 30th and October 1st. This year will be the 73rd reunion held since camps were first established at Skyland (NP-1) and Big Meadows (NP-2) in May 1933.
The highlight of this year's Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni Reunion will be the dedication of a bronze CCC Worker statue at Byrd Visitor Center plaza, Big Meadows (milepost 51). The ceremony will begin at 2:00 p. m. on Saturday, September 30th.
The National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni (NACCCA) kicked off a campaign in the early 1990s to commission a bronze statue of a CCC worker from Elliot Ganz Foundry. The goal of NACCCA is to have a copy of the statue erected in every state to commemorate the work of the Corps throughout the United States from 1933-1942. The original statue was installed in North Higgins State Park, Roscommon, MI in 1995. Shenandoah National Park's bronze will be the 32nd state commemoration.
The life-size bronze statue is loosely based on the depression-era drawing of "Iron Mike", a representative, although highly idealized young man. Shirtless, dressed in denim field pants and floppy hat, the enrollee proudly stands with axe at rest.
The statue has been made possible by a gift from the Barlow family of Stanley, Virginia and is in memory of Russell Thompson Barlow and Louise Painter Barlow. Mr. Barlow was a CCC enrollee at camp NP-2 (Big Meadows) from 1934-1936. Mrs. Barlow was one of three Stanley sisters that married CCC enrollees from the Big Meadows camp. A bronze plaque adjacent to the statue reads:
Between 1933 and 1942 more than 10,000 young men served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Shenandoah National Park. These "boys" created the form and fabric of the new park so that future generations could find recreation and re-creation here.
Additionally funding for site work and logistics was provided by the Shenandoah National Park Association and for the dedication ceremony by ARAMARK, Inc. and volunteers from National Public Lands Day.
The reunion weekend events will focus on the Skyland Conference Hall and will begin at 11:00 am on Saturday with informal discussions and a chance to meet old friends throughout the day. A formal meeting in the Hall will begin at 7:30 in the evening followed by bluegrass music of the Dark Hollow Boys.
From 1933-1942 Shenandoah National Park supervised the work of eleven Civilian Conservation Corps camps. The Skyland and Big Meadows Camps were the first in the National Park Service and were visited by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in August 1933. During the course of the New Deal program over 1,200 "boys" a year worked to build facilities and to create the landscape of the park.
The ceremony and the CCC reunion are open to the public. For additional information, call 540-999-3494.
Did You Know?
Although it’s native to these mountains, much of the beautiful mountain laurel you see blooming along Skyline Drive in June was planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.