In a CCC Camp
At the national level the Civilian Conservation Corps produced a newspaper called Happy Days. Many individual camps followed this tradition and published newspapers of their own. Camp Charleston’s paper was initially named the Charleston Echo and later the Charleston Chatter. The accounts in these newspapers, written by the men themselves, tell the story of life in the camp and how the men interacted with the local community.
Educational advisers in the camps developed curriculum to meet the men’s educational needs. For most of Camp Charleston’s existence the educational adviser was Oren Baxter. Men with less than a high school education participated in classes taught at the camp by local teachers from the community. Some of the men attended classes at Charleston High School and a few took courses at Eastern Illinois State Teachers College.
The issue of morale, an important tenet of the Civilian Conservation Corps, appeared in every camp inspection report. Inspectors were to report on the morale of the men as well as how they integrated with the local community. These reports, the newspaper accounts, and the correspondence of the project supervisors, rate morale and community support for Camp Charleston and Camp Shiloh as excellent.
Theodore Kingsbury, National Park Service project superintendent, oversaw the projects of Lincoln Log Cabin, the Moore Home, and Fox Ridge. He reported often on the morale of the men and the interest of the local community in the projects. His personal fondness for Fox ridge compelled him to accept the position of park custodian when the park’s first custodian, John King, took over Ivory Merritt’s job at Lincoln Log Cabin.
|Coles Co. Camps|