Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

CCC Cabins and museum

Monday April 1st, 2013
Site 28, O’Leno State Park
High Springs, Florida



Bring back the CCC.  The time for the CCC is not over.


I talked briefly about the CCC creating O’Leno State Park in my first post about O’Leno which, if you didn’t see it, you can read HERE

Since so many commenters agree that they really like the work done by the CCC and some feel as I do that we should have a program like this on going for our young people out of high school and before college, today’s post is going to be all about our closer look at the CCC cabins and museum here at O’Leno State Park.


Our campsite in Magnolia campground is just down the sandy road from the center of the CCC camp.  Walking along the road, I hear the song of one of my very favorite birds.  I stop and listen until I find him.  The Rufous Sided Towhee.  Now Serious birders will know that those who do the naming have changed his name to the Eastern Towhee but I don’t like it.  Sort of like renaming National Airport to Reagan Airport.  I’m just not going to do either one.  Love that Rufous and his trilling “drink your tea” song.


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The CCC Buildings are in the central area by the suspension bridge.

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All the cabins were built by the Corps beginning in 1934 and are named after Florida State Parks.  We see Anastasia, Bahia Honda and Paynes Prairie among others.  The cabin designs are interesting.  They have peak screened areas and screened shuttered walls on either side of the front door, and bump outs on either end for the dressers and small hanging clothing space. 



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They are each furnished with 4 sets of bunk beds, dressers, small hanging clothing space and a ceiling fan.  No heat, no AC, no water, no bathroom, no TV, no phone.  Just like in 1934.  There are 2 bath houses serving the 16 cabins.  You can rent them individually or for a group activity like a family reunion.  This past week-end a contra dance group rented the group and the recreation building. 


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The museum is small but packed full.


The small museum building is a very interesting design and houses artifacts from the park, information about the park’s history, the history of the CCC and the specific CCC group which built it.  I think it is run by the CCC Alumni chapter.


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Inside on the far left section of the glass case is a section devoted to Franklin D. Roosevelt who initiated the CCC on his third day in office.  That was back in the days when everyone was pulling together to give the president leeway to try innovative new things to help give people jobs and get important work done.  From this exhibit we can clearly see that the men of the CCC admired Roosevelt and grieved his death.

The next windows talk about the CCC.  On display are a uniform, some letters, many pictures and other memorabilia.   On around the room are many old pictures of the work and the men both at this camp and camps around the country.  Apparently a lot of the former CCC Boys and their families have donated memorabilia to CCC museums around the country including this one.


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At the end of the case is a section on the history of the town of Leno (Lee No)  whose name was changed from Keno after “ecclesiastical and political pressure”.   Don’t you love it.  They couldn’t get a post office under the name Keno.  It seems that being named after the game played in town was not considered suitable as it was a gambling game.   I love the old Keno set.  All wooden cards, a wooden tumbler for the wooden blocks with the numbers on them.



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The little museum contains no end of interesting exhibits and we spend an enjoyable time looking at them all while a few other folks walk in, do a quick turn around and leave. 

They do all seem to stop at this cut from a cypress which died or was felled in 1934, the year the park began.   The white pins show the dates of famous events and how big the tree was then.   The center dot is dated 1211 Genghis Kahn invaded China.   Now THAT is amazing.   This cypress tree was 700 years old at the end of its life.   That really gives us a new view of all the giant cypress we saw yesterday.   How old they must be.   How wonderful that they are being protected.


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If you are curious, you can see some of the other dates in this tree’s life time by clicking on this picture and enlarging it in your browser.  Pretty interesting stuff.

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Outside is a really lovely little setting for a bronze CCC Man statue. 

This is the same statue that we saw at the larger CCC Museum, which I also highly recommend, in Highlands Hammock.   It’s a really fine statue and this is a lovely spot to sit and consider all the work those groups did in about 10 years to improve the infrastructure and parks in our country.


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Just to make the CCC presence in this post complete, here are a few pictures of the CCC creations I talked about in the blog from earlier in the week.  If you didn’t see it and would like to, click here.  These include the large mess hall with painted totem poles inside, this rock building and the suspension bridge


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I would love to see the country bring back this wonderful idea of employment for our young people as a way to give them work experience, time after high school to grow up and for the country to get much needed work done.   If we can afford to have the Peace Corps and to send foreign aid all over the world  can’t we


bring back the CCC.


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  1. I totally agree with you re: bringing back the CCC's When my dad was turned down for the Army for physical reasons, he immeadiately joined the CCC's in the state of Washington

  2. Sure makes sense to bring back the CCC. It would be a great way to help with unemployment and we would all benefit from the lovely results of the projects.

  3. I liked the CCC too and would love to bring them back, however I wonder how many young people would be willing to do that kind physical labor for low wages today.

    Also, our 17+ trillion debt makes it unlikely to happen.

  4. Totally agree! Thanks for this CCC tour.

  5. Sure seems like it would be a win-win to bring back the CCC.

  6. Agree with all the above ... bring 'em back!

  7. Yes, it is an idea who's time has come. Could be a win-win in many ways!!

  8. The park improvements done by the CCC are amazing - and almost 80 years later are still standing. I wonder if some of the junk being built today will survive 20 years. Maryland does have a parks program called the Maryland Conservation Corps that works in the state parks. Some of the young people in it have had previous problems with the law and are in the program to get them away from unhealthy home situations and give them training in all sorts of skills like trail building, fire fighting and park operations. Hopefully when they finish the program, they have skills and a job in the parks.

  9. I'm afraid that bringing back the CCC is as likely as us seeing a rufous-sided towhee, Louisiana heron, or and oldsquaw. :(

  10. Thanks ya'll for the comments and the thumbs up. Should we start writing our representatives??

    I don't think we'd have to increase our debt if we would use some of the money spent on corporate welfare and foreign aid to do something for this country. Given the economy, I think there might be a lot of young folks between 18 and 24 eager to work for entry level military wage.

    Aww Judy are you an Eastern Towhee convert???

  11. That is a great idea, looking at recent unemployment figures for the 18-25 year olds is at 24%. A huge labor pool just waiting to have a job. I agree we should keep some of that foreign aid money here to help our own kids.

  12. I believe there is a somewhat similar program in place currently. The SCA is part of the Americorps Program and youths volunteer to spend time working on projects throughout the US. Our daughter did this when she was college age. They receive a small living stipend and limited monies to apply to college tuition or to pay on existing college loans. It is a very worthwhile program.

    She lived in an old CCC compound in Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire. They spent an entire year there using wood heat and had their meals in the central mess haul activity area.

    I don't know if this program will be affected by budget cuts but I would hope such a worthwhile program can be continued. There have been attempts in the past to cut funding for the program.

  13. Great post! The CCC has always impressed me, partially because their structures and the work they did was high quality enough to withstand the test of time. Lovely virtual tour of the camp. I agree that given the economy and the number of young people on the job market, a CCC type program could make sense. We do have a lot of debt and a lot of money going outside our borders so I don't see it as very likely to happen, unfortunately.


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