History of 629th Civilian Conservation Corps Company


CCC Company 629, S-77, Brule, Wisconsin


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



          On the 24th day of June, 1933, two Army trucks drove into the town of Brule. Lieut. Dwight B. Johnson (fresh from West Point), together with eight enrollees soon were hauling tents and supplies so that they would be ready for the 210 enrollees to arrive the next day by train. That day will always be remembered by those men, - a hot Sunday it was. One found 210 weary enrollees sitting on their barracks b ags looking over Brule – expecting to see a town of 5,000 or more. Every trouble was forgotten, however, when work was begun on the camp site. It was quite a contrast, shoving up tents in the brush, after living in a uniform army encampment at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.

          The camp was erected on the banks of the Little Brule River in the heart of the Brule State Forest. The Brule State Fish Hatchery is a near neighbor, being located on the outskirts of the camp.

          Being busy, living in tents and in close contact with nature, they soon acquired the spirit of the north woods. From this time on, although many hardships were endured, the camp life improved steadily. Boys undeveloped by city life acquired strength both in body and mind.

          In October, construction of the barracks began. Many civilians were employed and it was not long before they were ready for use. A great day that November 1, 1933; moving from the tents to the barracks. All the tables, benches, cabinets, etc., that were built while the men were in the tents came in handy in the buildings.

          Lieutenant Carter became the Company Commander after Lieutenant Johnson left. Many changes occurred, including construction of a new mess hall, forestry headquarters, garage, and a sewage system. The company began to take shape similar to that of the present.

          The work program was set up as soon as the camp was made tenable; the men undertaking their jobs with zest and interest.

          Being located within a mile of the district rangers’ headquarters, the Brule Camp became a unit invaluable in the protection of forest stand against the ever present menance-forest fires.  The great fire season of 1936, which reached its climax during August, will always be remembered. During that time, the company strength reached 325, men being sent here on detached service from other camps,. Land burned over totaled 40,000 acres.

          Tree planting at once became a big item in the work program, the seasons being in the spring and fall of each year. In the summer time, truck trail construction, stream improvement, and fighting forest fires took up the greater per cent of work time. The winter work is concerned with lake improvement and fire hazard reduction.

          August 13, 1935, twenty-three men were put on detached service to aid in the construction of Camp Black River.

          The construction of Stony Hill Tower in the proximity of the Brule forestry headquarters and the building of the Brule District headquarters office have been outstanding building projects.

          Other construction of note includes the building of 100 bird houses and four tower cabins during 1935 and 1936.

          Brule contributed sixteen men to the great CCC service at the scene of the disastrous flood of 1937.

          Early in 1934 an educational program was set up, directed by an educational adviser. The program has been expanded so hat at present several buildings have been set aside for the purpose of learning. They include: A manual training shop, radio station, photography shop, machine shop, and general educational class rooms, as well as a library, reading room, and educational adviser’s office.

          Recreationally and athletically, Brule has been outstanding. In 1934, the track championship of the Seventh Area was won. In basketball Brule was the runner-up for the Area championship in 1933 – ’34 and in 1936 – ’37. The baseball team of 1936 finished second in the Area standings.

          At present, Army supervisory personnel consists of First Lieut. Harry A. Ruhe, Inf.-Res., Company Commander; First Lieut. Kenneth C. Shrader, Sig.-Res., Executive Officer; and Everett J. Nelson, Educatoinal Adviser. The Forestry Superintendent is G.O. Carlson, who has served in that capacity since the inception of the camp.

          Camp Brule has proven that conservation is merited and successful; not only in the field of forestry, but in the building of manhood and offering of individual opportunity, instruction and advancement.

----- Submitted by Curator

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Company Roster, 1937, CCC Co. 629, Camp S-77, Brule, Wisconsin, Sparta District, 6th Corps Area


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