Upon digging through the annual reports, I am intrigued to discover all the details of the progress in Cleveland Metroparks. Last month I wrote about happenings in 1959. This time I chose 1940-41. I wanted to see what was happening in the Park District around the beginning of World War II. As a country, we were coming out of the Great Depression and Federal Works Programs as part of the New Deal were in full swing.
CCC Camp - Euclid Creek Reservation
Oh how I wish I could go back in time to visit Camp Euclid and Camp Brecksville, two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) located within Euclid Creek Reservation and Brecksville Reservations, respectively. Camp Brecksville (1935-37) was already closed by this time, but Camp Euclid was still going strong until its closure in 1941. I’m amazed at some of the things that were accomplished. In 1940, in Euclid Creek, 4000 trees and shrubs were planted at a cost of $90 to the park. Parking lots created, 75 hand-carved rustic signs were made, and 600 tons of rock were crushed for use in concrete work. In North Chagrin, almost 6800 trees were transplanted to create boundary screens, trees were pruned and cleared that had been damaged by insect infestation, walls, trails, and more were built. The D.A.R. (Daughter’s of the American Revolution) was built and a 1.3 mile horse trail constructed from Forest Lane Picnic Area to Wilson Mills Road. An amazing part of these projects and others was that the park paid $3600 for material and engineering while the Federal CCC program paid $92,000 in labor. Such a deal!
Strawberry Pond - North Chagrin Reservation
Sadly, these camps came to an end. The economy was getting better meaning jobs were beginning to open up, but even more devastating to this program was our push into World War II at the end of 1941. Men working in the CCC were now needed to defend our country. Things changed and so did the focus within the Park System. During the war years, it was unwise economically and perception-wise for the Park to continue to push improvements like they did with the Relief Programs since much of the efforts around the country were focused on war construction and rationing.
There’s much more in this fascinating report that I may share another time, but for now I’ll just take a moment to think about and be grateful for all those who did so much for our Park District, most whom we’ll never know their names. For more information on the CCC Camps, take a look back at Foster’s blog from 11/6/2013: http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Roots-Revealed-Blog/49.aspx#.VTqfONJViko
CCC boys hauling rock in Euclid Creek Reservation 1935