Historical Marker Text
Here at Berea, during the Great Depression, was the site of Civilian Conservation Corps Company 2363. This camp, one of many in Virginia, was organized in 1935 and disbanded in 1940. During its existence, the company strung farm fences, planted trees, fought forest fires, and instructed farmers in the practice of soil conservation. The CCC, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal agencies, was created in 1933 to provide public service jobs for unemployed young men. Roosevelt later noted that the recruits “grew with purpose and principle” and predicted that they would serve their communities and country with distinction. 
FDR’s New Deal and The CCC
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932 (Braeman, Bremner, and Brody 103). Within the New Deal, FDR had made plans to rebuild, relieve and reform the government and with it the Nation. America needed a plan to get out of the slump that was the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps was one of the “alphabet agencies” initiated by the New Deal. The Civilian Conservation Corps was created as an effort to provide government jobs for unemployed men (Badger 66). Roosevelt was ambitious but made a lot of progress, specifically in the conservation scheme of things.
Located in Berea, Company 2363 was the Fredericksburg and surrounding area’s addition to the Civilian Conservation Corps. The camp was organized in 1935 to be a center of education, and provide jobs for men and veterans who found themselves jobless and idle during the Great Depression. In accordance to the Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 2363 provided a service for the government being “Conservators,” as their monthly camp newspaper called it. They were assigned different tasks to complete throughout their stay at the camp. A task might include planting a line of trees on a specific strip of land, building dams, helping keep roads erosion-free by building ditches and repairing old roads such as U.S. Route 1, which was a main project in November of 1935. Men and boys were proud to be in the camp and working for their country. They believed that by taking part they were doing their country a great service, and improving their moral character at the same time (Southern Daze).
The participants of Company 2363 did not spend all of their time planting trees and rebuilding roads; they also attended educational programs or classes and had a fair amount of leisure time. Some of the classes offered included journalism (from whence the camp newspaper came), auto-mechanics, current events, radio and electric wiring, chemistry, French, salesmanship, dancing, photography, soil conservation, and first aid, among many others. These classes taken at the camp’s Educational Program could be counted for credit towards a high school diploma. They also offered vocational courses for a military or technical staff option. Some extracurricular options which were open to all members of the camp included theater, poetry readings, checkers club, dances, and church activities. The most popular activities outside of work and school appear to be sports. Every month new sports were rotated into play. In the colder winter months it was necessary to have indoor options such as ping pong, basketball, boxing, and indoor football. For the warmer months there were more options, some of which include soccer, volleyball, football, and basketball. Competition between the four sections of the camp led to more energetic sporting events and also gave the men more to look forward to (Southern Daze).
The camp newspaper, “A Southern Daze,” was circulated to all members. The paper was not very lengthy but did report several aspects of the camp. Monthly titles included “The Conservators,” “Sports,” and “Educational Programs,” to name a few. There were also hand-drawn advertisements and comics included in the papers, which were another source of entertainment for the men. The newspaper had a large staff of fifteen to twenty persons at a time, but the editor in chief stayed the same. His name was Stephen Nicolas and he foresaw the entire process. The members of “A Southern Daze” were or had been members of a journalism writing class offered at the camp (Southern Daze).
Snark Market, “FDR,” (accessed April 10, 2008).
For Further Reference
Badger, Anthony J. The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-40. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1989.
Braeman, John, Robert H. Bremner and David Brody, eds. The New Deal: The State and Local Levels. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1975.
Merrill, Perry H. Roosevelt’s Forest Army: A History of the Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942. Montpelier, VT: Perry H. Merrill, 1981.
Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.). Southern Daze. Berea, VA: C.C.C. Co. 2363, 1935.
Owen, Riesch A. L. Conservation Under F.D.R. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1983.
Paige, John C. The Civilian Conservation Corps and The National Park Service, 1933-1942: An Administrative History. Washington, DC: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1985.
Salmon, John A. The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942: A New Deal Case Study. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1967.