Camp S-15 / Camp S-19 ( aka Camp 57 ), Salamanca, New York & Camp SP-51, Red House, New York, Allegany State Park, New York
The following information was gathered from various issues of The ASP Historian published quarterly by the Allegany State Park Historical Society, Salamanca, New York.
Company 249 arrived at Camp S-15 near Salamanca, New York on June 20, 1933. There they were one of several camps working on various portions of what would become Allegany State Park. In furtherance of that work Company 249 began construction of a Stone Observation Tower in October of 1933.
Company 249 arrived at Camp S-19 near Salamanca, New York on November 10, 1933 where it continued its work on the Park. This camp was also referred to as Camp 57, though I believe this may have been a Park designation rather than a CCC one.
In December of 1933 the Company began work on Stone Pillars to the entrance of Red House. The next month, in January, 1934, the Company began to build the Bee Hunter Hiking Trail within the Park.
The next month the Company suffered from the weather and illness. Cold weather was severe, with a record low for the Park of negative thirty five degrees being recorded. On February 20th the camp was quarantined due to a case of scarlet fever being discovered.
The camp recovered and proceeded with its work. But it suffered due to conflict between its Army and Department of the Interior supervisors, who ran the camp and the work projects respectively. This resulted in the men being served inferior food, which was in the purview of the Army Company Commander.
After several weeks of declining food quality, the CCC men were greeted one morning by a breakfast of two cold pancakes and a half pint of milk. Twenty two men, who were forestry crew for the Department of Interior supervisor, staged a protest that day, February 7, 1935. They were promised a hot lunch and the protest stopped.
However when lunch time came the men received the same meal, two cold pancakes and a half pint of milk each. This led to a walk out, harsh words, and threats against the company commander. Twenty three men were immediately dishonorably discharged and sent home summarily by the Company Commander.
It would seem that this action was improper and the matter led to an investigation, which revealed the internecine tensions between the Company Commander and the Technical Supervisor. The Company Commander was reassigned and the men reinstated in July, though to different camps. The food for the men of the Company who remained was better after that.
It should be noted that this problem seemed to be systemic to the area, see the story, Yeah, But What About The Food? which occurred in Machias, New York at about the same time. Also this story is given as taking place in the Red House Camp, and also Camp S-19. The Company did not move to Red House according to sources till later and Camp S-19 is in fact near Salamanca.
The Company moved to Camp SP-51 near Red House, New York, still in the Allegany State Park area, on August 12, 1935. There the men worked on the Ryan Trail where the built really nice Cabins and a School House near where there is now a saw mill.
One veteran was Christopher ( last name not given ), who was on the surveying crew and who also served as assistant librarian at the school. He also was a champion fisher on Red House Lake. (I believe that Christopher was a Company 249 veteran rather than one of the other two Companies in the area in as much as Company 249 was near Red House and also built the tower mentioned below. He may however actually have been in another company).
The men also enjoyed sports. Christopher's barracks won the trophies for baseball and volleyball. Also, according to Christopher, The men of Company 249 were well disciplined.
"Trouble ? We got rid of trouble as soon as we saw any. There were loan sharks who collected twenty five percent a week when they loaned money. We got rid of them. There were card sharps with decks marked on the edge and dice loaded with weights so they'd always come up seven of eleven. I took them dice away and won back thirty dollars off the cheaters and paid it back to the losers. Then I burned the dice and showed them the weights." Clearly the men of Company 249 learned a lot about life in their years in Allegany State Park then just how to work hard.
The men of Company 249 must have then built another stone tower, for Christopher mentions that "I piled up stones all winter and they went into building the stone observation tower."
The work of the men of Company 249 remains a benefit to the people and visitors of Allegany State Park.
BACK TO JAMES F. JUSTIN CCC MUSEUM, UNIT ROSTER AND HISTORY COLLECTION