Articles & Stories

CCC Camp In Carlisle Was Hit

During Wind Storm In 1935

Camp Members Had A Wide Range Of Activities
Available To Them In Which To Spend Their Free Time

Editor's Note: In the October 2006 issue of The Kentucky Explorer, Harry Lee Feeback shared an article giving a general overview of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camp located at Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky. This month he shares another article regarding a destructive wind storm that hit the camp on July 2, 1936. He also provides a detailed look at the use of free time of the "boys" at the camp.

By Harry Lee Feeback - 2010

The Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camp at Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky, was estab-
lished on July 1, 1935, and offically opened on July 27, 1935. The actual work began on September 5, 1935. The camp consisted of 15 buildings on ten acres of leased land located on the west end of Carlisle.
A year after the camp was opened it was almost destroyed by a windstorm. According to The Carlisle Mercury at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, 1936, a terrific wind storm hit sections of Carlisle. In the area where the storm hit, a heavy rain fell for a few minutes along with strong winds. The CCC camp suffered significant damage. Two of the barracks were demolished, other smaller buildings were destroyed, and others were partially unroofed. The beds and equipment of the members of the camp were strewn all over the camp. One member of the camp, Luther Harris, was injured and taken to a hospital in Fort Thomas. Mr. Harris recovered and was soon back at camp. The fact that most of the members of the camp were at work in the county, leaving the buildings unoccupied, probably prevented many more from being injured. The wind traveled over a very narrow path through Carlisle, and little damage was reported anywhere else in the county. Some of the damage in Carlisle was a garage blown down, porches torn off houses, heavy damage to Ratliff Brothers Company, several trees destroyed, and windows were broken out at the courthouse.
The camp was rebuilt by August 1936. In the re-building of the camp, it was enlarged to consist of 22 buildings instead of the 15, and a new parking lot was built which furnished more parking space for visitors.

The members of the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) Camp at Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky, were busy clearing debris which was caused by damage from a wind storm on July 2, 1935. (Photo courtesy of Judy Shaw.)


Life At The Camp
After the evening meal, between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., free time was set aside for recreation or for school work. The period of recreation was considered free time and the members of the camp could have their pick of activities. By 1936 all types of sports were available. The camp had a basketball team that practiced sometimes at the Carlisle High School gym and sometimes played the preliminary game to the actual high school game. The basketball team played against other CCC camps (i.e. Frenchburg, Manchester, and Morehead). There was an outdoor court located at the camp where pick-up games were played almost every day. The camp also had an excellent softball team that played teams in the surrounding areas, as well as teams from other CCC camps. The softball team played against Headquarters, Gulf, Standard Oil, East Union, Carlisle, and Moorefield. Along with the softball team the camp had an excellent baseball team. Not only did they play baseball and softball games against other teams, an excellent intramural program was installed. Other activities at the camp included volleyball, tennis, wrestling, pool, card playing, ping pong, checkers, chess, horseshoes, dominoes, and boxing. The camp had many activities for the members to be involved in during their free time.
By May 1936, a library was provided. The library had a large number of permanent books as well as stocking three newspapers and 30 magazines. There was a traveling library between the camps that would bring books to the camp library to supplement what was available on campus.
Due to the fact that some of the members of the camp could not read or write and some had not completed the eighth grade or high school, the camp offered courses in which one could learn to read and write and get an eighth grade certificate or a high school diploma. There were certified teachers employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that taught the classes. Many of the "boys" took advantage of this program.
Also, there were offered several vocational classes from which one could learn a trade. The classes offered included woodworking, which had its own building filled with modern equipment; truck driving; mechanics; blacksmithing; leather working; and typing.
In 1936 an auditorium was constructed and used as a place for plays presented by the drama club of the camp. The auditorium could seat 150. The local community was invited to the productions.
There were special times that the members of the camp were able to travel to other areas to be part of community events. One example of this was in October 1936, when they went to a football game at the University of Kentucky. I believe the game was with VMI (Virginia Military Institute) with UK winning.
On weekends the members of the camp could go to Carlisle and take in a "picture show" or some other event. It was possible to go to Carlisle during the week, but due to activities at the camp, most did not go until the weekend. The members of the camp had to get back to the camp by 10:30 p.m. The most enjoyable reason to go to downtown Carlisle was to watch the girls. The men would go to the county courthouse and sit on the rock wall and watch the girls go by. It has been recorded that some of the young men of the community did not appreciate the CCC boys dating their local girls. One of the "hangouts" of the community was the Broadway Inn (where Garretts Restaurant is today). Sometimes the CCC boys and the local young men would get into a "knuckle drill" at the inn, and the owner of the inn would throw them out. At least 15 of the CCC boys married local girls and stayed in Nicholas County after the camp closed in 1941.
Also a chaplain was available during free time, and religious services were conducted each Thursday. At other times religious lectures and Bible study were offered.

Several of the buildings at the CCC camp at Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky, were unroofed during a wind storm on July 2, 1935. (Photos courtesy of Judy Shaw.)

Two of the barracks were totally destroyed at the CCC camp at Carlisle during the wind storm that took place on July 2, 1936. Only one camp member was reported injured. Most of the members were at work in other parts of Nicholas County at the time of the storm.
(Photo courtesy of Judy Shaw.)

Harry Lee Feeback, 1030 Calcutta Road, Carlisle, KY 40311; 859/289-6499, shares this article with our readers. He would like to thank Judy Shaw, whose father was a member of the camp, for the photos. Dan Rich, now deceased, who was a former member of the camp, provided a lot of the information for this article.


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