During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was very active in Menard County. On August 23, 1934, Company 1683 established Camp New Salem as a tent camp to house the full contingent of 206 enrollees.
The first permanent buildings were occupied October 11, 1934. In the first year more than 450 boys passed through Camp New Salem with 275 were discharged for various reasons and 15 transferred to other companies. For a little over 7 years the CCC worked at New Salem State Park (as the site was then known), the “boys” (as they were called) rebuilt eight historic log buildings (including both mills), worked on the roads and trails, laid split rail fences, and planted many of the trees which still grace the village. The men went into Petersburg and Springfield on weekends to patronize stores, movie theatres, attend church and help out in emergencies. They spent an average of $5,000 a month in town, an important economic stimulus during The Great Depression.
Michigan based author/songwriter Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site Visitors Center on Thursday evening, October 12 at 7 pm. Refreshments will be served. Jamerson’s hour-long program includes stories, showing a video clip from his PBS film, reading excerpts from his novel and singing original songs with his guitar.