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CCC and WPA are an important part of local history


Fri, Sep 19th, 2003
Posted in Features

On October 29, 1929 the stock market crashed and the United States was sent into a great depression that lasted for over ten years. In just a short period of time, millions of Americans lost their life savings. Over half a million were unemployed and this number doubled in just one year. Businesses and banks closed, while farm prices fell to an unthinkable low.

In order to help the now destitute country, newly elected president Franklin Delano Roosevelt started a relief program to give people jobs. Former President Herbert Hoover had already started the Public Works Administration (PWA). Roosevelt implemented many new organizations to help give jobs, two of which were the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in 1933 and the Works Progress Administration later called the Works Projects Administration (WPA) in 1935.

The CCC and WPA became one and the same, hiring around 3,000,000 young men to build roads, public buildings and telephone lines. They also built or improved parks, and forestry. It is said that CCC workers planted nearly three billion trees in just ten years of service. Though the US Government employed mostly young men, they also employed around 25,000 older men called Local Experienced Men (LEM) who trained the younger workers on how to properly use axes and shovels. These skills may seem simple but they would be an essential part of the new enrollees’ work. Things were finally looking up for desperate, poverty stricken Americans.

Fillmore County was not immune to the depression but was lucky enough to have CCC and WPA camps nearby. Two of the most well-known and documented in the area were those in Chatfield and Lanesboro. In a June, 1933 issue of the Chatfield News, a journalist reported on the first CCC camp settled in Fillmore County.

Chatfield Camp

"A tented city was established in short order last Friday upon arrival of Company 1755 of the Civilian Conservation Corp. The men, numbering 170, arrived here by special train from Des Moines at 7:30 with Major Leroy Watson, commanding officer."

Because the CCC was a government organization, military officers and enlisted men ran the camps somewhat like the military and also made sure that everything ran smoothly for the workers. The Chatfield camp included twenty tents, using eleven for sleeping and the rest for officers, supplies, hospitals, various mess halls, re .....
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Preston woman recovers from liver transplant

Fri, Sep 19th, 2003
Posted in Features

"It has been almost a nursing class on its own,” stated Irene Mathison, as she reflected on the health problems of her daughter. She and her husband, Larry, have spent the better part of ten years helping their daughter, Karen, work through a maze of ..... 
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ATV track hits big bump in road to approval

Fri, Sep 19th, 2003
Posted in Features

For a while, it looked like a fast track to a fast track.   A citizen, in this case Dave Clement, told a county commissioner, Randy Dahl, that he wanted to build a commercial ATV (all terrain vehicle, commonly known as 4-whee ..... 
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Special elections slated for Preston

Fri, Sep 19th, 2003
Posted in Features

Monday's Preston City Council meeting had a bumpy start with a council that seems split on most difficult and contentious issues. With the recent passing of Mike Gartner, the city council is left with a two-to-two vote, especially when anything havin ..... 
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Funding, levies, and budgets on Lanesboro Council minds

Fri, Sep 19th, 2003
Posted in Features

The Lanesboro City Council adopted a proposed levy of $310,105 at their meeting September 15. An estimated eight percent increase in tax capacity is expected for Lanesboro; the city tax rate will remain at .75022. The impact of this will be an $87 in ..... 
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Floating in a cloudless sky

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

“Your first time up in a glider?” Steve Fischer asks me. Steve is a mechanical engineer from the metro area whose passion in life is flying gliders.   “Yah,” I shout out above the noise of the wind.   ..... 
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2003 drought reduces profit potential

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

There is a saying among farmers, no matter where they live, that it “always rains around here ten minutes before it is too late”. After abundant rainfall up until mid-July, the 2003 growing season appears to be one when the rains may be even later th ..... 
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County approves 2004 budget

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

“Department heads have really sharpened their pencils and come through", praised Policy Coordinator Karen Brown as the county board reviewed new figures submitted from county departments on Tuesday. Brown had informed offices, after last week’s meeti ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Rushford generators selected; site approval next step

Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

Richard Fogal, chairman of the Electric Commission, presented the Commission’s recommendation to accept the Ziegler bid to the Rushford City Council at their meeting September 8. Ziegler’s (Caterpillar) bid was $43,000 less than their previous bid an ..... 
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