Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated at Hill City museum open house
HILL CITY, S.D. — The South Dakota Civilian Conservation Corps will always be remembered for helping to conserve the Black Hills, and on Saturday, the CCC Museum hosted their open house in Hill City.
A depression-era program created under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the CCC not only provided work to American men ages 17 to 28, it also formed some of the Black Hills’ natural attractions.
“In the Black Hills, all of the lakes were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps or a least the guys worked on that project.” said Otto Bochman, Director of the CCC Museum Board
Guests to the open house brought a great deal of personal stories about the corps.
Nancy Cartwright shared stories of her father, George Hinds, who worked for the corps starting in the early 1930’s, with one of his roles being firefighter.
“My dad always believed in keeping things, everything the way nature brought it,” said Cartwright, “He had a watch tower at North Peak at the end of his time and when the fire took place in 1959 in Deadwood my father was one of the first ones they sent out to help fight the fire.”
And while a member of the corps, men were able to receive an education and learn trades such as journalism.
“This was an opportunity for these young guys to get an education,” continued Bochman, “And they offered classes in a wide variety of things, journalism only being one.”
The Civilian Conservation Corps Museum has identified, by name, 20,000 of the 30,000 men that came to the Black Hills to work for the CCC.
The museum is open to guests and those looking to share stories or memorabilia about the men.