Rabideau CCC Camp
A camp established as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal Program. One of three CCC camps preserved today, it is located inside the Chippewa National Forest. It was established as a camp associated with the Civilian Conservation Corp. Which was one of the first programs established. Supplying over 275,000 jobs to young men, including those of "The Bonus Army," the efforts of this conservation effort resulted in numerous planted trees, restoring historic battle fields, and other the formation of national parks, to name just a few of things “The Tree Army” accomplished. According to the History Channel, “the CCC was responsible for over half of the reforestation, public and private, done in the nation’s history.” </br> A part of the working with the CCC involved living in these camp lodges, such as the Rabideau Camp. Projects that the men worked on varied from camp to camp, depending on the area’s needs. The Company that first built Rabideu was Company 3749 from Bennett Springs, Missouri. These men built and stayed at the camp from August 1935 to January 4, 1936, under the direction of Lt. Jefferson T. Myers. This crew was relocated to California and another crew moved in from Bena, which was Company 708. This company stayed until the program ended in 1941. These men, under the direction of Captain Ernest F. Boruski of the Third Infantry, worked on conservation projects such as "roadside cleanup, fire hazard removal, and planting and thinning trees." Other projects the crew worked on: trail building, logging, survey, and bridge construction, to name just a few. </br> Left vacant after its closure in 1941, the University of Illinois had four representatives from the Department of Civil Engineering visit the Chippewa National Forest to find a suitable building for a summer surveying course. The representatives found that place at Camp Rabideau and they held a lease until 1973. On June 16, 1976 the CCC camp was registered with National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the Forest Service developed a restoration plan for the camp, which included, according to the nps.org: the restoration of the Mess Hall, one of the barracks, and the Army Officer Quartet's, and the hospital. It is now open to the public and has many other buildings around it to visit as well. There are interpretive displays that explore the history of the buildings and of the area.
Backstory and Context
For the nature lovers, there is a one mile nature trail that runs through Camp Rabideau.
The most significant fact to remember is that these CCC camps were never supposed to be preserved, so it is kind of special that visitors can visit Camp Rabideau as it was.