OREGON, Illinois — America was in the grip of the Great Depression in 1933. More than 25 percent of the population was unemployed, hungry and without hope. Out of the economic chaos emerged the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), whose purpose was to conserve natural resources and salvage young men.
Bill Jamerson of Escanaba, Michigan, has spent a lot of time researching the CCC, visiting camps and parks, and talking to men and the families of men who were part of the Corps. He is presenting “The Dollar-a-Day Boys: A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 1, at Rock River Center, 810 S. 10th St., in Oregon, Illinois. The program is sponsored by Rock River Center, the Friends of the Oregon Public Library, and the Ogle County Historical Society.
The program will include stories, a video clip from his PBS film, excerpts from his novel, and original songs about the CCC with guitar accompaniment.
In his talk, Jamerson will share many stories he has gathered from former CCC Boys and discuss their projects in Illinois. He will sign books after his talk. People are encouraged to bring photo albums and CCC memorabilia.
In Illinois, there were around 50 CCC camps. They planted 60 million trees, built nearly 400 bridges, constructed more than 1,900 miles of roads, and installed hundreds of miles of telephone lines. A camp was opened in Ogle County in April 1937, 5 miles southwest of Oregon. They constructed White Pines State Park.
Admission to the Oct. 1 event is free, although donations are accepted to cover the cost of the presenter. Refreshments will be served. Reservations are not required, although a call to Rock River Center, (815) 732- 3252, to notify of the number attending would be appreciated.
Posted Sept. 24, 2014