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Chapter33 ALUMNI NEWS Formerly known as North Star Chapter No. 33

This is the final issue of CCC Chapter 33 Alumni News. Read more about the chapter on page 2.

CCC Chapter 33 closes after 33 years

November 2013


After 33 years, the CCC Chapter 33 alumni group (formerly known as North Star Chapter No. 33) has officially come to a close. The chapter began with a meeting of 31 members who met at the Fred Babcock VFW Post in Richfield in 1980. Membership peaked in 1997 with 280 members.

restoration of a CCC monument at Lake Phalen, which had been erected in 1937. And in 2007, members raised money to have a statue created and then installed at Gooseberry State Park. The statue has primary visibility at the park and is seen and enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.

Chapter members got together for evening banquets, spring and fall luncheons and summer picnics, gathering to enjoy the company and share stories. Throughout the years, members also planted trees, volunteered at the state fair and headed up projects to memorialize the work of the CCC.

The chapter ended with $2,500 in the bank. At the final chapter meeting, it was decided that $1,000 would be donated to CCC Legacy and the remaining $1,500 would go to Conservation Corps Minnesota, to create permanent displays showing Corps history (see photo below) and to support the 80th Birthday Celebration held in September of this year (see story on pages 3-4).

To celebrate the 75th anniversary, members helped organize a


2 Governor’s


2 CCC collections and historical resources

3-4 CCC 80th

Birthday Celebration

5 CCC Legacy Society Back Monty Dehn reminisces about CCCs

Conservation Corps Executive Director Len Price, with Corps history banners displayed at the state capitol in April 2013. The banners now hang at Corps headquarters in Saint Paul.

ALUMNI NEWS CCC collections and historic sites Between 1933 and 1941, men in the CCC built many of the state’s most beautiful and historic park buildings. The handiwork and records remain in state parks and historic collections throughout the state. Here are just a few notable resources and sites: Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm

Museum, research center and park that includes work of the CCC.

St. Louis County Historical Society, Duluth

Museum and archives include CCC history.

Governor proclaims CCC Member Appreciation Day To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the CCC, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed September 14 as CCC Member Appreciation Day. The proclamation states, in part: “It is important to recognize the 80th Anniversary of the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the outstanding contributions of the CCC enrollees in preserving Minnesota’s natural resources and enriching the quality of life of all Minnesotans.” We thank and honor our CCC alumni for their dedication and hard work.

Camp Rabideau, near Blackduck

One of the best surviving examples of a CCC camp, designated a National Historic Landmark. Itasca State Park, Park Rapids

CCC buildings include the Old Timer’s Cabin and the Forest Inn. Free vistor’s center with CCC historical displays. Jay Cooke State Park,

Stone buildings, suspension bridge (see article below), picnic grounds and other features constructed by CCC. Gooseberry State Park, Silver Creek

Many beautiful examples of CCC log and stone work. Bronze CCC statue was installed and dedicated in 2007.

Hard Work and a Good Deal The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota By Barbara Sommer, Conservation Corps Minnesota board member and oral historian

Barbara Sommer traces the history of the CCC in her book, with a lively narrative developed using extensive research and nearly 100 interviews. Available through the Minnesota Historical Society, major bookstores and

Jay Cooke swinging bridge reopens From Minnesota DNR

The reconstructed swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park opened to the public on November 1, after the bridge was destroyed in June 2012 floods. The DNR said the new bridge includes cedar log handrails on access ramps, recreated stonework on the support pillars to match the work done by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1934 reconstruction, improved access and walkways to the bridge and an ADA compliant turn-around on the south side of the bridge to improve MN DNR photo wheelchair accessibility.

Chapter33 Alumni News | November 2013, Final Issue | page 2

ALUMNI NEWS CCC 80th birthday celebration honors Minnesota CCCers

CCCers and their families gathered under a light drizzle to be honored for their service. Two of the five CCCers in attendance included Ed Benysek (far left) and Archie Bauman (far right).

Friends and alumni braved the drizzle on September 14 to celebrate 80 years since the beginning of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Thanks to the covered DNR stage, the crowd enjoyed great live music all evening and gathered to honor five alumni from the original CCC who attended. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton even proclaimed the day as CCC Member Appreciation Day! (See article at on page 2.) Attendees bid on silent auction items, played games (Hammerschlagen and the wine ring toss were favorites) and, most importantly, made and rekindled connections with alumni from the past 80 years. See more photos from the event, including all five CCCers in attendance, on the next page. To see a slideshow on our website visit www. conservationcorps. org/80thbirthday. Above left: Barb Sommer, Conservation Corps board secretary and CCC historian, talked with CCCer John Obinger and his wife, Elaine at the celebration store. At right, CCCer Monty Dehn autographs a shirt for a younger alum.

page 3 | November 2013, Final Issue | Chapter33 Alumni News

Five members of the original CCC attended the celebration including, at left from top, Monty Dehn, John Obinger, Archie Bauman, Ed Benysek and Frances Mikesh.


celebration in photos

Corps alumni and friends of all ages mingled while they played games, listened to live music and caught up in the alumni center.

Chapter33 Alumni News | November 2013, Final Issue | page 4


Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy ( “In 2007, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Legacy was established through a merger between the Camp Roosevelt CCC Legacy Foundation and the National Association of CCC Alumni (NACCCA). The purpose of CCC Legacy is to continue the promotion of the CCC in America and pass the legacy of the CCC to following generations.” —From the CCC Legacy website

CCC Legacy maintains a national presence for the CCC, continuing the work of NACCCA alumni. To this end, the organization collects and shares CCC photos and historic documents through an online history center, hosts an annual gathering (this year in Tucson), shares news

of CCC alumni groups around the country through its Journal (published six times a year) and engages volunteers. In 2008, the Legacy established a Commemorative Wall to honor CCC men and their work, and to encourage the care of public land. Construction was made possible through donations of members, chapters, family and friends. The wall and a CCC worker statue are located in Edinburg, Virginia, in a commemorative area called the CCC Plaza. The plaza is co-located with the CCC Interpretive Center now under construction and the CCC Legacy office. Become a member of CCC Legacy to support the heritage of CCC and the future of Conservation Corps. Visit www. or call 540-984-8735. Thank you!

Minnesota CCCer Ralph Halbert and his wife, Mary, were instrumental in getting a CCC worker statue installed and dedicated at Gooseberry Falls State Park in 2007 and have been active supporters of Chapter 33 and the national CCC Legacy Society.

The CCC Commemorative Wall in Edinburg, Virginia features plaques inscribed with the names of CCCers who have contributed to support CCC Legacy.

page 5 | November 2013, Final Issue | Chapter33 Alumni News

Chapter33 Alumni News | November 2013, Final Issue c/o Conservation Corps Minnesota 60 Plato Blvd E Ste 210 Saint Paul, MN 55107

My Days in the CCCs

by Monty Dehn, Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Life in the CCC was a different kind of life that I was not used to, but it was a good life. We worked from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. unless we were assigned to a special detail like fire watch, which was checking that the fires were burning in all the barrackes, equipment sheds and especially in the garage in the winter months. Another thing that was very interesting to learn was to fight fires that were out of control. We had regular training in forest fires and learned to use the equipment.

Monty Dehn with Conservation Corps Executive Director Len Price, in 2013.

Here it was, I was only 15 years old and learning how to drive all types of vehicles including the dump trucks and also the big 6x6 trucks, and this was a joy. We also learned how to clear the land for a new road. Our main job was to learn how to start trees from seeds and all the things to do to make a woods. The trees we

planted were all three feet apart and in a wind row. In southern Minnesota, some of the camps worked with farmers and their land to contour the land, so the water would not run off and soak in the ground. Yes, we got our board and lodging and also $30 a month. Out of that, $25 was sent home to our parents so they and our siblings could survive. During the week we were confined to our base and on weekends we could leave the base if we didn’t have special duty assignment. There were also plenty of activities to have fun, softball, horseshoes and even boxing. For more entertainment we would get together with other CCC camps for competition matches for any type of games and also were taken into near towns for dances, shows or ball games.

CCC Chapter 33 Alumni News, Fall 2013, final issue  

Read about the North Star Chapter of CCC alumni, who met over 33 years to keep alive the memory and spirit of their service in the CCC.

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