CCC in Illinois, Past and Future
During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Democrats in Congress enacted the New Deal, a series of programs and public works intended to revive a devastated economy and idled labor force, and to address the country’s deteriorating infrastructure. Among those programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps, a popular voluntary work program that employed 3 million men, aged 17 to 28, over the decade between 1933 and 1942.
In Illinois there were about 50 CCC camps. And if you’ve ever visited the lodge at Starved Rock State Park, walked among the Skokie Lagoons (the largest CCC project in the nation), or driven across a bridge on the I&M Canal, you’ve experienced the history of the CCC in Illinois.
Nearly nine decades later, President Joe Biden and other Democrats, including Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, are calling for a new CCC — a Civilian Climate Corps. WE'll talk about what a new CCC could mean for Illinois.
Historian and author
“Civilian Conservation Corps in Southern Illinois, 1933-1942”
“Giant City State Park and the Civilian Conservation Corps”