CCC Co. 1520 & Camp Shawnee No. 2

CCC Camp Shawnee No. 2 was home to one of the four segregated, all black companies of Civilian Conservation Corps units, which helped to construct the infrastructure of the modern-day Shawnee State Forest.

Originally occupied on 18 June 1933, Co. 1520 included 200 African American enrollees, which were drawn from cities across Ohio. The army commander and his lieutenants were augmented by locally hired men (both black and white) from nearby Portsmouth, Ohio. Frank and Neal Hairston, for example served as “local experienced men,” providing supervision and technical expertise to the unit. Their projects included road construction, seed collection for reforestation efforts, and fire hazard forest improvement, which included the removal of blighted American Chestnut trees.

Soon after the company arrived in Shawnee and began their work, the camp was the scene of what CCC officials described as a "riot," when thirty of the men refused to work. Ultimately, the disgruntled men were discharged and order restored to the camp. By the fall of 1934, morale had improved. A camp inspection report noted the enrollees appeared “to be satisfied with conditions. As a whole they have no complaints to offer. All say they like the life and are satisfied.” In gauging the local public opinion of the enrollees's conduct,” the government inspector concluded it to be “very favorable.”

Additionally, the report noted that "religious services are held at this camp on Thursday evenings, by local colored clergymen. Catholics are transported to Portsmouth by truck on Sundays. …. 85% of the men attend services.” And, notably, the average weight gain of its enrollees was reported to be 20 pounds, significantly higher than the national average of 11.5 pounds.

Images

Picking up cones under shortleaf pines, CCC Camp Shawnee #2 (November 1933)

Picking up cones under shortleaf pines, CCC Camp Shawnee #2 (November 1933)

These men, all African-Americans, were enrolled in CCC Co. 1520, which made their home at Camp Shawnee No. 2, deep in the heart of Scioto County's Shawnee State Forest. Photographs of black CCC enrollees in Shawnee are extremely rare and this one has a wonderful intimacy about it - a close up of the men at work, collecting shortleaf pine cones for seed extraction. | Source: Image courtesy of The Ohio State University. Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center. Wooster OH. Forestry Images Collection. http://hdl.handle.net/2374.OX/29625 | Creator: Andrew Feight View File Details Page

Detail, Co. 1520 of CCC Camp Shawnee No. 2, Shawnee State Forest, Scioto County, Ohio (c. 1934).

Detail, Co. 1520 of CCC Camp Shawnee No. 2, Shawnee State Forest, Scioto County, Ohio (c. 1934).

With its white officers and locally hired foremen and supervisors, Camp Shawnee No. 2 was host to one of the four segregated, all-black units of the Civilian Conservation Corps that worked on reforestation projects and helped construct the all-weather roads in Shawnee State Forest. | Source: Image courtesy of the Portsmouth Public Library, Henry A. Lorberg Department of Local History, Portsmouth, Ohio. | Creator: Andrew Feight View File Details Page

"Finished road on Mud Lick road," near CCC Camp Shawnee No. 2, Shawnee State Forest (November 1933)

"Finished road on Mud Lick road," near CCC Camp Shawnee No. 2, Shawnee State Forest (November 1933)

Mud Lick Road was built by the men of CCC Co. 1520, one of Shawnee State Forest's four segregated, all-black camps. The CCC built over 100 miles of all-weather roads in Shawnee, as a means of facilitating fire-fighting, forest management, and auto-tourism in southern Ohio. | Source: Image courtesy of The Ohio State University. Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center. Wooster OH. Forestry Images Collection. Web. http://hdl.handle.net/2374.OX/30337 | Creator: Andrew Feight View File Details Page

"Layout Plan of Camp Shawnee No. 2," Shawnee State Forest, Scioto County, Ohio (1933).

"Layout Plan of Camp Shawnee No. 2," Shawnee State Forest, Scioto County, Ohio (1933).

The only surviving "layout plan" for a CCC camp in Shawnee State Forest, this "blue print" captures the basic arrangement of typical camp structures. | Source: Image courtesy of the Portsmouth Public Library, Henry A. Lorberg Department of Local History, Portsmouth, Ohio. | Creator: Andrew Feight View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Andrew Lee Feight, Ph.D., “CCC Co. 1520 & Camp Shawnee No. 2,” Scioto Historical, accessed July 27, 2017, http://sciotohistorical.org/items/show/24.
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