Civilian Conservation Corps
The pumping station as
it appeared in October 1934 just prior to its transformation by the CCC
into a world-class hunting lodge (photo by A.B. Emery, USFWS). Note the
smokestack and oil storage tank on right.
In 1933, President Roosevelt formed the
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a New Deal relief project to help
victims of the Great Depression. The CCC program targeted men between the
ages of 17 and 25, with enrollments from six months to two years. The monthly
salary for each man was $30, and the commanders required the enrollee to
send $25 of that home to his family.
Two hundred CCC Boys arrived in Hyde County
on June 29, 1933, and set up Camp Redington on Bell Island in southwest
Hyde County. For the first year, they devoted themselves to projects on
Swan Quarter Refuge. With the government acquisition of Lake Mattamuskeet,
they began working on projects at Lake Mattamuskeet. They moved houses
from flooded lots in New Holland to higher ground. They dismantled farm
buildings and used the materials to build new structures for the Refuge.
On September 4, 1936, the CCC Boys completed tearing down the New Holland
Inn and hauling off the debris. They planted special grasses and other
vegetation for the waterfowl and wildlife, and cleared brush from canal
banks and roads. They constructed a fence along the 45-mile boundary line
of the lake property, using thousands of creosote posts. They later replaced
about 20 percent of those posts with concrete posts that are still visible
at points along the Refuge boundary.
On November 1, 1937, having completed their
projects at Swan Quarter Refuge, the CCC moved their camp to the south
side of highway 264 in the New Holland area, and renamed it the Mattamuskeet
Camp. The CCC worked on projects in the area until the government abolished
the program and closed the Mattamuskeet Camp in July 1942.
One major project that the CCC Boys worked
on was the conversion of the old pumping plant into a rustic hunting lodge.
Contractors removed the huge pumps and boilers and the government sold
them for scrap metal. The CCC boys worked alongside contractors to construct
floors, dividing the interior of the original building into three levels.They
subdivided the huge rooms that housed the pumps and boilers into a kitchen,
dining room, assembly room, lounge, guest rooms, and bathrooms. New plaster
walls and ceilings hid the brick walls and the steel girders supporting
the roof structure. They installed new windows to correspond to the new
levels, and installed a hot water heating system. They removed twelve and
a half feet from the top of the old smoke stack and installed a spiral
staircase inside, creating a 112 foot observation tower.
the CCC Boys made all the furniture for the Lodge, including beds, dressers,
mirrors for dressers, chairs, and tables. The young men painted the building
inside and out, poured concrete sidewalks, built a fence around the parking
area, and took great pride in the finished work.
With ten guest rooms ready, the Lodge opened
to the public on November 26, 1937. Concessionaires operated the Lodge
and lived in an apartment in the west end of the second floor. Because
of the immediate popularity of the Lodge, the CCC Boys completed nine additional
guest rooms with six attached baths on November 1, 1941. Capacity for the
Lodge was 55-60 guests, who paid about $8.50 per day for room and board.
Between October 1935 and July 1942, the
CCC Boys worked a total of 7,403 man-days on the Lodge project.
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