Contact: Karen Wallace
Phone: (828) 524-3600
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On May 28, 1933 a CCC Camp Neorakada opened 2 miles south of Franklin. The men came into town on weekends, and patronized stores, movie theatres, billiard rooms, dance halls, churches and restaurants. Many enrollees met their wives while in camp. The C’s also helped out during emergencies, such as fires or floods. The enrollees spent approximately $5,000 a month in Franklin, which was a boast to the local economy during the depths of The Great Depression.
The Franklin Press reported that 108 young men arrived in Franklin on a special train from Fort Bragg. “Clad in army shirts, fishing hats, blue denim and khaki work pants and carrying dunny bags loaded with bedding and personal belongings, the boys looked like they were starting out on a vacation camping trip. Jesting and jostling each other good-naturedly, they were happy over the prospect of working in the Nantahala National Forest instead of staying at home in Piedmont North Carolina vainly hunting for jobs that do not exist.” Thirty men from Macon County had been accepted in the Civilian Conversation Corps and were undergoing twenty-two days of intensive training at Fort Bragg. Two weeks later, 24 of the local men arrived at the camp, and the C. C. Camp Boys had defeated Cowee in a baseball game. The camp quota of 200 men was filled by June 15. In addition to a mess hall and other camp buildings, a baseball field, basketball court, volleyball court, and boxing arena were constructed at the camp.
Many local young men worked at Civilian Conservation Corps camps in western North Carolina starting in 1933 during the Great Depression. CCC camps in the area included those built near Franklin, Bryson City, Smokemont, Aquone, Cowee, and Topton.
Author Bill Jamerson presents a music and storytelling program about how the CCC camps improved the surrounding area as well as the lives of the young men and their families. Join us on March 12 at 2:00pm for this entertaining and nostalgic program with laughter and many heartfelt stories!
This program is co-sponsored by the Macon County Public Library and the Macon County Historical Museum.