CCC Camp at Kintersburg

Located throughout the United States are Civilian Conservation Corps Camps, also known as CCC camps. The beginning of these camps starts with the stock market crash in October 1929, which caused the United States to go into the Great Depression. Upon being elected into office, President Roosevelt proposed numerous government programs which were designed to lift the country out of the depression. The priority of the programs was to get people into sustainable work.

The first of these programs was the Emergency Conservation Work, later renamed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The program was first opened to unmarried, unemployed men ages 18-25. The young men came into the camps hungry and poorly clothed. As part of the program they were issued uniforms and given three meals a day. Further they earned $30 a month, most of which was sent home to their families – they were allowed to keep $5 for their personal needs.

Although the camps were run by the U.S. Army, foresters, carpenters and other people directed the work.  Some of the main projects completed by the CCC was: fighting forest fires; planting trees; building roads, buildings, picnic areas, campgrounds, and creating many of the state parks. When the men were not working they socialized and had an opportunity to learn crafts and skills. The effects of the CCC camps can still be seen and enjoyed today.

One of these camps was located in Kintersburg and was known as Company 1301. The Company was formed on May 20, 1933 at Fort George G. Meade with Captain L.E. MacGregor in command. The Company began its work on May 21 headed for Pocatello, Idaho, and on May 27, camp was established at Greys River, Wyoming, where normal camp and work duties were performed for five months.

In October 1933, the company was transferred to Broughton, PA, and on October 24, 1933, Captain William G. Wharry assumed command. Wharry and his associates created a camp in South Park, Pittsburgh that was famous in CCC developments, and the high morale that existed among the men helped them overcome the hardships they encountered when they moved on April 24, 1935. It was on this date that they arrived at a tent site near Home, PA for Camp SCS No. 1, the first soil conservation camp (SCS) in the state. The site was on a 20-acre piece of ground owned by Andrew Robert Kinter, known as the Kinter farm off Tanoma Road.

A permanent camp was delayed due to an unusually heavy rainy season, but preparation for the permanent camp finally began on July 27, 1935 with Captain Peter Van der Lugt in command. It did not take long for the camp to become a presentable sight and the work carried on by Captain Van der Lugt was recognized and on June 25, 1935, he was promoted to Commander of Sub-District No. 9.

Kintersburg CCC Camp
Marker, located on the Kinter Farm near Home, PA, marks the site of the CCC camp

The camp consisted of five long barracks, which housed 40 men each. The recreation hall had a post office, writing tables, wrestling mats, pool table and a library. The roster of the Kintersburg Camp was comprised mainly of enrollees from throughout Pennsylvania including: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Altoona, and other major cities.

A major duty of this unit was to plant evergreens to halt soil erosion in the area because the land had been farmed and the rain destroyed the soil. The seedlings were started along a creek that ran through the land. The trees were planted throughout the farm; many of the rows can still be seen today.

On that date, Captain James P. Maloney took command, and it was under his command that the camp improvement continued rapidly.  The company also carried out other work as well, it can be categorized into two distinct types of work: forestry projects including nursery work, tree planting, and fence construction; the second type of work was engineering work which included rip-rap paving, temporary and permanent check dam construction, and bank sloping. Much of the work in the area of Kintersburg and Shelocta was with the Crooked Creek watershed.

In the spring of 1936, the company was actively engaged in flood relief work. The majority being assigned to road building duty at Saltsburg, PA, in order to get supplies to the water filtration plant. The company received individual comments and letters, and official recognition which demonstrated the appreciation of the people for the services provided by the company.

Camp life was comparable to life in the military. The day began with morning revelry, followed by breakfast and then the crews headed out to the work sites. The evenings were devoted to time for studies, athletics, movies and other forms of recreation.

Further the creation of a camp school room and reading room to be used for educational purposes greatly aided in establishing a successful program. A CCC Nigh School in Indiana, PA was made possible through a joint effort between the Indiana State Teachers College (ISTC), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and National Youth Association, in which commercial subjects and advanced art were stressed.

The Indiana Evening Gazette, periodically reviewed the camp’s activities written by Jiggs & Jerry, two members of the camp. The articles noted many of the camp’s accomplishments and camp events including baseball games which were played against teams from local communities.

Slater, Mary Ann, CCC set up camp at Kinter farm in 1935. Indiana Gazette, June 13, 2000 pg. M-3. Patterson, Ed, The Insider’s Guide to Indiana County Parks & Trails.