New Deal, New Landscape
The Civilian Conservation Corps and South Carolina's State Parks
In 1933, thousands of unemployed young men and World War I veterans were given the opportunity to work when Emergency Conservation Work (ECW), one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs, came to South Carolina. Renamed the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, the program was responsible for planting millions of trees in reforestation projects, augmenting firefighting activities, stringing much-needed telephone lines for fire prevention throughout the state, and terracing farmland and other soil conservation projects. The most visible legacies of the CCC in South Carolina are many of the state's national forests, recreational areas, and parks.
Prior to the work of the CCC, South Carolina had no state parks, but, from 1933 to 1942, the CCC built sixteen. Mielnik's briskly paced and informative study gives voice to the young men who labored in the South Carolina CCC and honors the legacy of the parks they built and the conservation and public recreation values these sites fostered for modern South Carolina.
About the Author
"In this thoroughly researched and comprehensive history of the men that built South Carolina's state parks, Tara Mitchell Mielnik tells compelling stories of the hardships and achievements of the Great Depression. This state-wide study makes extensive use of original records, especially historic photographs, to document the architectural and social legacy of one of the most successful New Deal programs. Most importantly, Mielnik draws heavily on the memories of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers themselves, as well as their often entertaining writings in the surviving camp newspapers. The many engaging stories of the book, as told by the men who lived them, give the history an immediacy and intimacy that is typically missing in the official records. She also highlights some of the lesser known aspects of the CCC, in particular the role of World War I veterans and African Americans in the program. New Deal, New Landscape certainly will become the main reference for the history of the state's park system and an important contribution to the national history of conservation."—Al Hester, South Carolina State Park Service
"Tara Mitchell Mielnik's masterful blend of social, political, architectural, and public history will appeal to anyone interested in twentieth-century South Carolina. Based on extensive documentary research, interviews, and examinations of the state parks themselves, it highlights and interprets the perspectives of CCC administrators and the rank-and-file, the landscape architects who designed the parks, and the communities where those parks were built. Mielnik's compelling portrait of one way in which the Depression made a positive and lasting impact on the Palmetto State is a fitting memorial to the "CCC boys" long gone and a tribute to the few of them still with us."—Tracy Power, South Carolina Department of Archives and History
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