Aerial of CCC Camp - Salem OR
Currently the administrative center for the Oregon Department of Forestry, this site was first developed in 1936 as the maintenance camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which coordinated its activities with the State Forester’s Office.
From the first Civilian Conservation Corps camps in 1933 to their closure at the beginning of World War II, Oregon was second only to California in the number of camps west of the Mississippi. Various state agencies supervised CCC work based on camp location and work program.
The State Forester held jurisdiction over camps located in state forests or on private land. The state agency’s newsletter The Forest Log commented in 1938 on the need for coordination between the State Forester’s Office and the CCC noting that “two state and seven private land camps administered from the CCC office are carrying on forest protection and improvement work on lands which come under the jurisdiction of the State Forester.”
To facilitate this coordination, a site was acquired to the east of Salem to accommodate both the headquarters for the State Forest Department and the State’s CCC headquarters and maintenance facility. A four-and-a-half acre site on the east bank of Mill Creek served as the CCC headquarters, while the seven-and-a-quarter acres on the west bank accommodated the State Forester’s Office.
CCC workers began construction of the camp in April 1936, completing it by the end of the year. The CCC camp consisted of the administration office (now the Forest History Center), a machine shop for equipment repair, a warehouse for storage of supplies and equipment, and a barracks for approximately fifty CCC workers. Housing for the workers included a recreation hall, kitchen and dining room. Given the camp’s function as a maintenance and supply facility, it required fewer workers than the majority of CCC camps in Oregon.
With the outbreak of World War II, President Roosevelt directed that all CCC maintenance shops be turned over to the Army for military use. Salem’s CCC camp filled that purpose until the end of the war, when the State Forester’s Office gradually began to transform the CCC facilities to meet its needs. Ultimately, CCC buildings were replaced for administrative office space as required by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The CCC Administrative Office, used for the Keep Oregon Green program beginning in 1946, was relocated to the west side of Mill Creek in 2001. It now houses the Forest History Center’s archive.
"Combined Offices Add to Efficiencies," The Forest Log (1938). Forest History Center Archive, Salem OR.
Historic American Buildings Survey Pacific West Regional Office, Oregon State Forester's Office Complex HABS OR-186: Photographs and Written Historical and Descriptive Data. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/or0533
Interview with Alan Maul, Director of Forest History Center - Oregon Department of Forestry. February 3, 2020.
Interview with Alan Maul, Director of Forest History Center - Oregon Department of Forestry. January 24, 2020.
Project originally submitted by Judith Kenny on March 31, 2020.
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