History of 1697th Civilian Conservation Corps Company

 

CCC Company 1697, North Bend, WI & Long Lake, WI & Camp Coon Valley, Camp SCS-1-Wis., Coon Valley, Wisconsin

 

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

 

History1697th Company
Camp Coon Valley
, SCS-1-Wis.
Coon Valley,
Wisconsin

          Company 1697, Civilian Conservation Corps, was organized at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, on June 6, 1933, under the command of Lieut. Wren, U.S.A. and remained at Fort Sheridan until June 23, 1933, when they left Illinois soil and erected a tent camp at North Bend, Wisconsin.

          During the stay at Camp North Bend, the company was employed in soil erosion work. Not long after the arrival at North Bend, Capt. Powell temporarily replaced Lieut. Wren, who resumed command late in the fall. On December 4, 1933, North Bend was left sullenly in the cold when the company departed for Long Lake, Wisconsin. There, Lieut. Snithen relieved Lieut. Wren, to be relieved in turn by Lieut. G.E. Hofto, who assumed command on January 3, 1934.

          It as in the glowing warm spring that the now familiar orders came for removal to Coon Valley, Wisconsin, and on May 4, 1934, the company descended en masse upon defenseless Coon Valley, erected another tent camp, and proceeded gallantly to swelter. This camp site was the location of the first Soil Erosion Demonstration Area in the United States under auspices of the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was during that hot summer that permanent barracks were built, to be occupied on October with heart-wrenching sighs of relief.

          In January, 1935, Lieut. Shonholtz assumed temporary command of the company during the absence of Lieut. Hofto, who had been ordered to school at Ft. Sheridan, and shortly after his return, he was transferred to Camp West Salem. Capt. Branch succeeded Lieut. Hofto as Commander of Camp Coon Valley.

          In May and June 1935, the expansion program heaved itself over the horizon, setting down Lieut. R.C. Cockrell for command of Coon Valley, Capt. E. Jantz for training, and Lieut. C.H. Sigel to command the contemplated section moving to Viroqua.

          During May, 1935, a tornado stampeded west of Viroqua, damaging several farms before it disappeared. To keep the farmers from losing time on their spring planting, the entire company worked for two days cleaning up debris and trash left in the storm’s wake.

          Two months later, on a broiling July afternoon, the boys were coming in tired and dusty, and hot – to heroically answer a frantic fire call to help save a dwelling. Aching arms and bending backs and countless buckets of water were of little help for the doomed building, but the fire never spread.

          A third of the company left for Ontario in July, and shortly thereafter the advance detail for Viroqua departed. The occupancy of Viroqua by an Illinois company prevented the departure of Lieut. C.H. Sigel from command of Coon Valley Company 1697. In March, 1937, Capt. Bethel relieved Lieut. Sigel, to be relieved himself a month later by Lieut. M.E. Muller, QM-Res., the present Company Commander of Camp Coon Valley, CCC.

----- Submitted by Curator

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