The Civilian Conservation Corps In Thompson Falls, Montana
The nation was divided into n;.ne Corps Areas. Montana was a member of the Ninth Corps Area, which also included the states of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, V/yoming, part of Arizona, and the Alaska Territory.1 Major General Malin Craig commanded the Ninth Corps Area from the creation of the C.C.C. in April of 1933 to March of 1935. He was then succeeded by Major General Paul B. Malone. The Ninth Corps Area was divided into fifteen districts with its headquarters in San Francisco. It was never expected to function at peak efficiency because inter-district communication and administration were difficult. Total coordination of districts was never attained. Serious administrative responsibilities lay upon each of the fifteen district commanders. Frequent camp movements were common in the first years of the C.C.C. summer camps had limited facilities. Isolation from social contacts was frequent. Important work projects were constantly interrupted by severe forest fires. Despite such handicaps, the C.C.C. not only managed, it seemed to prefer to work under those difficult conditions: . . .the educational contribution of environment alone more than offsets all the inconveniences. Universities spend millions that their students may enjoy the silent impressions of the beauty of the landscape and architecture. But there is no college campus which can compare with _ the sublime grandeur of the setting of the 9 C.G.C. camps in the Ninth Corps Area.2 Although the locations of most C.C.C. camps abounded in ’’beauty" and "grandeur," such an expansive area presented a number of logistic complications. For example, consider one of the difficulties which occurred in the fall of 1934. The C.C.C. had been in existence less than two years. With the approach of the second winter, headquarters finally concluded that tent barracks were not adequate in the more northerly districts. The Ninth Corps Area had a total strength of more than 65.000 men. Approximately 35,000 of these enrollees had to be relocated to warmer conditions, thus causing 72 companies averaging 225 per cairp to be moved south for wintering. In addition, 84 companies were allocated new campsites in the various districts. Nearly $1,400,000 was spent on lumber, hardware, and electrical materials to build these new camps. The Army Quartermaster Corps used $125,000 to train and clothe the enrollees from the companies which were moved. Approximately 13.000,000 board feet of lumber was purchased to build new barracks. Wooden barracks had to replace the tent shelters currently in use. No district was completely cleared of C.C.C. companies. Eighty-four of the 297 companies remained in the north and 213 companies were shifted south. What impact did such movements have on the fifteen districts in the Ninth Corps Area?