Veterans Park

stinson_creek_trail_logo The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, offered manual labor jobs to unemployed and unmarried young men between the ages of 18 and 25. The program sought to develop and maintain the country’s natural resources while at the same time alleviating economic hardships caused by the Depression. Roosevelt presented his plan to Congress on March 21, 1933. Congress acted swiftly, introducing the Emergency Conservation Work Act the very same day and approving it ten days later by voice vote.

After passing a physical exam or undergoing a period of conditioning, enrollees agreed to serve in the CCC for a minimum of six months, but they could remain in the program for up to two years if they were unable to find other employment at the end of each six month period. They received shelter, clothing, food and a monthly allowance of $30, $25 of which was to be sent home to their families. Enrollment in the program was initially limited to 300,000 participants at any one time; due to the program’s popularity, this limit was increased by 50,000 in 1934. During its nine year history, three million men served in the CCC. Among them were actors Raymond Burr and Walter Mathau, test pilot Chuck Yeager and baseball players Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst.

The Fulton CCC Camp, #3731, was established in 1935. Seventeen buildings including eight bunk houses, a recreation hall, bath house, officers’ quarters, hospital and outdoor dining area were constructed in a pasture belonging to the Missouri School for the Deaf. Enrollees numbering 176 were expected at the camp and at one point, camp personnel totaled 208. Participants engaged in a variety of conservation projects such as prevention of soil erosion, erecting fences and creating ponds to ensure adequate water supplies for local farmers. Although most CCC projects took place on government land (local, state or federal), the Fulton camp often supplied labor for farm improvements with the local landowner paying for the materials. By 1939, the number of projects had decreased and the camp was moved to Mexico.

From 1940 on, CCC projects increasingly supported the development of military resources and infrastructure. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the CCC focused almost entirely on aiding the war effort. The CCC continued until 1942 when Congress voted to disband the program citing declining need.

The former CCC Camp in Fulton is now Veterans Park. Vestiges of the camp remain in the amphitheater located in the park’s southwest corner and in the stone pillars on the east and north sides of the park. Because the bunkhouses were built in sections, they could be easily dismantled; two of them were moved to 10th Street where they were subsequently used as duplexes.

For additional information on Callaway County historical sites, visit the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society and Museum located at 513 Court St. or at www.kchsoc.org.

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Chicago & Alton Railroad Bridge | Kings Row-Henry Belleman | Westminster Gymnasium | Memorial Park | Hockaday House | Lovers Leap-Star Park | State Hospital Rock Barn | CCC Camp 3731 | Fulton Country Club

The City of Fulton