John and Diana are traveling around the country with a 37-foot RV and an 18-year-old cat. This is their story.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Civil Conservation Corps Museum
One nice thing about being up in the northern states is that we can expect cool temperatures. Last night it got into the fifty degree range and an extra blanket on the bed was required! As a bonus, it will only get into the mid seventies today. After some very warm days, this feels good. Last Saturday we drove to Higgins Lake State Park where the above mentioned museum is located. The statue is in memory of the many corps workers in Michigan. The Civil Conservation Corps existed from 1933-1942, and was created to put Americans back to work after the recession. The museum is also a history lesson about the first (and probably only) state-run tree nursery. At the turn of the century it was noted by the first warden of Higgins State Park that the land of this area (Which had been over-logged for many years) "was neglected far worse than raw land, full of stumps, impoverished and full of weeds". Michigan's first publicly owned tree nursery operated here from 1903-1965. The CCC worked at this nursery part of that time, harvesting the seeds from cones, planting and caring for the seedlings until they could either be planted on the nearby land or shipped out.
The museum has replicas of the cone barn and ice house where the young seedling's roots could be kept cool. The building on the left side of the above picture is the only original building left of the nursery. It was the packing house where the seedlings were packed for shipping. The large building in the foreground is the cone barn where the cones cleaned, heated, and tumbled for removal of the seeds. Quite an interesting process! The other picture I have here is of the CCC barracks.
In 1983 corps alumni members dedicated their photographs and other artifacts to the museum. Those items are in the barracks. In the history of the CCC in Michigan 100,000 men planted 484 million trees, constructed 7,000 truck trails, 504 bridges and 222 buildings. They also revitalized the Michigan state park system. As it often happens, I enjoyed this museum more than I expected I would.