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Poe Valley State Park Celebrates Civilian Conservation Corps Anniversary

by and on July 11, 2018 5:00 AM

PENN TOWNSHIP — This year marks the 85th anniversary of the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

A celebration of the corps' Camp S63 Company 1333 will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at Poe Valley State Park. Attendees can hear information about the corps, the company and others with connections to the Poe Valley camp, as well as enjoy a meal that early CCC members would have eaten. The event will be family-friendly and is open to everyone, including CCC veterans, children and grandchildren of CCC workers and history buffs.

The Centre County Historical Society is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Resources to bring this program to Poe Valley. This year also is the 125th anniversary of the state park system.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the CCC with an executive order on April 10, 1933, to provide work during the Great Depression and to satisfy his desire to further environmental interests. Young, unmarried men 18 to 26 enlisted in the CCC to help their families and to have meaningful employment. Poe Valley State Park is a result of the dam and lake constructed by Camp S63 of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

According to William Marcum, local historian and author of a book "The Foreman’s Boys," slated to be released in December 2018, “My grandfather was the senior foreman at the Poe Valley Camp. He referred always to his workers as ‘boys,’ rather than enrollees. It was not meant as a put-down or disrespectful, it was the way he saw them.

"Hearing his stories sparked my interest, and led to me also collecting stories and researching the times and the camp.”

The young men lived in barracks at the camp and ate in a common mess hall.

“In doing my research, I came across inspection reports from the camp. The camps were inspected each year," said Marcum. "In the paperwork were complete menus for entire weeks. The meal you eat when you come on July 15 will be one recreated from those menus.” 

After the meal, a rare film about the Poe Valley Camp will be shown.

There is even a surprise in this year's program, according to Marcum. Attendees can visit the barracks following the program to tour the officers’ and forestry quarters.

Those interested in attending should RSVP by calling (814) 234-4779  or visiting https://squareup.com/store/centre-county-historical-society.

Those with stories to add to the history of Camp S63 should contact the Centre County Historical Society's Mary Sorensen at msorensen@centrefurnace.org.

 



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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