Friends of South Cumberland State Park Seeking Information, Artifacts and Volunteers for the CCC Camp Restoration Project.
South Cumberland State Park and the Friends of South Cumberland are embarking on a major project to research, reconstruct and restore an important part of local history at the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp at Grundy Forest in Tracy City. With the financial support of the South Cumberland Community Fund and other generous donors, SCSP Rangers and Friends volunteers will begin working this winter on the first phase of an ambitious plan to re- create portions of the village that, from 1936-1942, housed nearly 200 members of Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1475.
In the 1930s, the Federal Government created the CCC program to provide paying jobs for able-bodied young men needing work during the Great Depression. CCC Company 1475 called this workersʼ village home. The camp included a number of buildings which housed, fed, hospitalized and stored equipment and supplies for the workers of Company 1475. Phase One of the project will identify, clear, and begin to repair some of the aging camp infrastructure — building foundations, cisterns, paths and roads.
As part of that project, SCSP and the Friends would like to hear from anyone who worked at the Grundy Forest CCC Camp, or had a family member who had done so. If you or your family have photos, drawings, notes or other artifacts relating to the CCC Camp, the Friends of South Cumberland would appreciate an opportunity to examine and create digital copies of them as part of the historical research that will guide the Campʼs restoration, and later, help tell the story of the Camp to park visitors. The digital copying process is quick, and will not harm any of the artifacts. Any items copied will be promptly returned.
The young men of Company 1475 undertook many projects which improved the lives of people in this area. They erected fire towers, built roads, and fought forest fires. They built the chain of Grundy Lakes, now used for swimming, paddling, and fishing. CCC personnel built some of the first hiking trails in what would later become South Cumberland State Park. They were also instrumental in helping fight a major fire that burned part of downtown Tracy City in the 1930s.
If you have historical items youʼd like to share, please email the Friends of South Cumberland at FriendsOfSouthCumberland@gmail.com. Volunteers who would like to help out with site clearing and reconstruction work can visit FriendsOfSouthCumberland.org/CCC to see a listing of volunteer upcoming work-days at the site.
A group portrait of the young men of CCC Company 1475, in camp at Grundy Forest in the late 1930s. The facility was named “Camp Alvin C. York” in honor of the famous World War I hero from Tennessee, and was managed by Project Superintendent Herman E. Baggenstoss, who was also a prominent Tracy City businessman and an early advocate for the creation of South Cumberland State Park. This photo is from the South Cumberland State Park archives.