Monday, August 6, 2012

On June 21, I went down to the lovely town of Patagonia in southern Arizona and gave a presentation to about 25 on the history of the CCC there. The talk was set up by the Patagonia Museum, and I thank them very much for their generosity and opportunity to share the story of the CCC boys. As a special treat, my friend the kind and intelligent CCCer Elson Alvarez joined us and was able to give people a first-hand account of what it was like to be a CCC boy in Patagonia.

Several Forest Service companies lived at the Patagonia CCC camp (designated F-63-A), including 832, 862, and 2847. They worked on building and improving the Nogales Ranger Station and Patagonia Ranger Station, constructing range and boundary fences, stringing telephone lines, erecting dams, developing springs for wildlife, gathering seeds, and building and repairing roads. They built a fire trail from the Air Port to a point five miles toward the Flux Canyon Road. In fall 1935, the enrollees built the Flux Canyon Road to provide a road for forest firefighters, miners, and tourists.

Company 3840 moved to the Patagonia camp in the fall of 1939 from their camp in nearby St. David. Their camp was designated SCS-26-A, since Company 3840's work projects were under the supervision of the Soil Conservation Service.  

The boys of Co. 3840 worked on soil erosion and water conservation projects (building diversion dikes, check dams, water spreaders; planting); road repair; and fence construction in the nearby towns and ranches and the Santa Rita Mountains. They built a dam for flood protection for Patagonia residents; built a dike at St. David; repaired roads near Fort Huachuca; and built dams at Flux and Josephine canyons. They worked on local cattle ranches constructing truck trails, fencing, and stock tanks, including the Buchenberg Ranch, the Louis Sands Ranch, and the Saxon Ranch.

The day after the talk, I was able to visit one of the earthen dams the CCC boys constructed. The nearby homeowner kindly allowed me on his land and showed me around. These photos are (1) of the drain and (2) of the dam. Seventy-three years later, the dam is still there!

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