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A Birthday for the CCC


It’s no secret that the thirties were a difficult time. As people watched their crops fail and their lives became struggles, there was a general outcry for improved conditions. FDR was inaugurated as President on March 3, 1933; by the end of the month, on this date, he signed into law an emergency employment act. A few days later, under this act, the Emergency Conservation Work agency was established. Its goal was to relieve unemployment and to aid in restoring the natural resources of the land. This eventually became the Civilian Conservation Corp.

In 1937, North Dakota was designated as a district of the CCC program. The year prior to that, North Dakota was considered to be a sub-district of Minnesota and was placed under the supervision of Fort Snelling. Under this new designation, fifteen officers and 12 civilians were stationed at Fort Lincoln, supervising their new district.

At this time, there were 6,500 North Dakota boys enrolled in the CCC, with two "veteran" programs in Fargo and Mandan, and nine "junior" companies, at Kensal, Foxholm, Kenmare, Mohall, Kramer, Kelvin, Larimore, Watford City, and Medora, all which now fell under the new headquarters of Fort Lincoln. Coincidentally, the company out of Sidney, Montana, also fell under the newly-created North Dakota district.

So in 1937, the North Dakota companies of the CCC had plans underway to celebrate their fourth birthday. The twelve camps in the North Dakota district were set to show a variety of programs to the general public. It was estimated that 20,000 people from North Dakota and parts of Montana would attend these various shows.

The litany of events included special programs, tours, open houses, and more. In Mohall, the orchestra of Company 765 was set to play music throughout the day of the celebration. In Kramer, there was free cake and ice cream with the promise of a free movie. Foxholm planned on hosting a free lunch. So did Medora – along with an athletic tournament. Kenmare's company got special permission to delay their celebration, since bad roads and conflicting dates caused some problems. They planned a dance and special program for later in the month.

The CCC provided many families with opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had…and so it was a sweet birthday for all involved.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker


Egeland Enterprise, March 25, 1937

"http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/035.html" http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/035.html