History of 1603rd Civilian Conservation Corps Company

 

CCC Company 1603, Camp Mondeaux River, Camp F-18-Wis., Westboro, Wisconsin

 

From Sparta Civilian Conservation Corps District, Sixth Corps Area, 1937 Annual

 

History 1603rd Company
Camp Mondeaux River

F-18-Wis.
Westboro, Wisconsin

††††††††† It was early morning, June 11, 1933. A general order issued by the War Department shaped the destinies of eight bewildered and unconditioned men at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. They were ordered to depart for Westboro, Wisconsin, to establish Company 1603, Camp Mondeaux River, nine miles west of Westboro. Leaving Sheridan that afternoon by truck, they arrived at the approximate site on the evening of June 13 and set up a camp a short distance from what is now known as Camp Mondeaux River. The next morning, they set up camp on the selected site. Departing from Fort Sheridan on June 19, the main body of Company 1603 arrived by train at Westboro on June 20 and were transported immediately to the camp by trucks. The site bore a disheartening sight as it was a burned-over area full of stumps. After a great deal of work, the camp proper was set up. Work on the permanent camp started October, 1933.

††††††††† With the increased enrollment and the expansion of the number of camps, this company was split in June, 1935, to form a new company, Camp Jump River, Company 3651. The new company moved to their new location on July 19, nine miles from the present site.

††††††††† Camp Mondeauxís interests in athletics is due to Lieut. Loppís untiring efforts to build a winning representative of the camp. It was through his efforts that the camp baseball diamond was constructed in camp. Mondeaux made itself known in all forms of sports. Its baseball team was champions of the Taylor County Baseball League in 1935 without losing a game. Its basketball teams always gave a good account of themselves and offered plenty of competition to its rivals. Boxers were entered in the Golden Gloves Tournament held at Wisconsin Rapids and the welterweight title in the novice division was held by the camp. Track, softball, tennis, and other sports held their own in competition.

††††††††† Various camp improvements have been made from the beginning of the camp but it was not until January, 1936, that the real improvements began. The first project undertaken was the recreational and educational building. It was planned to make this an outstanding building of Medieval splendor. The building was designed to represent a castle. The effects were obtained by the use of plywood and painting to represent stone. The partition between the recreational room and library is a castle. The windows in the tower serve as ventilators for the class rooms. The library and adviserís office is a small castle in the library-reading room. The mess hall and kitchen was transformed from a run-down building into an attractive place. The headquarters, forestry building, and barracks have all been remodeled. The camp grounds have been graded and landscaped, and with the new walks and roads it has added greatly to the camp appearance. Work then started on a new work shop and again a hit was scored. A tool room was constructed in one end of the building, a screen front allows instant inspection of the tools, which are mounted on panels on the walls. Several tools have been installed.

††††††††† The educational program has steadily been improved. The educational facilities have been constantly enlarged to meet the demands. Handicraft exhibits have been held at the Sportsman Fair in Wausau, another at the 4-H Fair in Medford, another in a downtown store in Medford and requests have been received to hold others.

††††††††† Capt. Nelson Fisher, Lieut. Buell Lopp, Lieut. Edward Randall and Educational Adviser Edward Libowski are the men who are responsible for these major camp improvements.

††††††††† One of the outstanding forestry projects is the Mondeaux Dam. An artificial lake, one of the finest in the state, is now being created in the basin of the Mondeaux River which will, within a few years, be a paradise for fisherman and cottagers who are looking for the best. Already one-half of the flowage area has been cleared, ready for flooding. In connection, bridle paths must be cleared, bathing beaches will be prepared, picnic grounds and camp grounds are to be built, and a 15,000-yard fill on the Twin Lakes road across the flowage will be necessary. In attaining the various camp accomplishments, the individual has not been ignored. Special stress is laid upon the training of each man in the use of tools and the development of his initiative. It is the ultimate aim to develop such qualities in each man that he will never again willingly become a charge of society. That much good is being accomplished is shown by the number of men leaving camp to accept positions where they may better themselves by perseverance and honest efforts and by their success in holding these positions.

----- Submitted by Curator

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