|A visit to Camp Rabideau|
a step into the past at historic Camp Rabideau....
Rabideau is located on a 112- acre tract purchased in 1934. The weathered green
buildings, perhaps the best preserved of the CCC camps in the nation, are set
about 100 feet apart, surrounded by tall trees forming a large glade in the
center. Part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's mammoth New Deal, Camp Rabideau was
one of the 2, 650 camps established across the country in 1935. The Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC) gave more than a quarter of a million young men - many
of them unemployed and just scraping by during the Great Depression - some
skills, some money and some happy memories. Camps were run jointly by the U.S.
Forest Service, which manage the camps today, and the U.S. Army, which commanded
years after the young men left, the University of Illinois rented the camp for
use by their engineering and forestry summer school students. Under the terms of
the lease, the students added sewer and sanitation lines, installed a water
pressure system, rewired the buildings, installed ceiling supports and replaced
the wood stoves with oil. When their 27-year lease ended in 1973, the camp
stayed empty and began to deteriorate, as almost all other CCC camps have - no
great surprise, as they were always considered temporary.
The Camp today....
though, after years of deterioration, the camp is gradually shaking off its long
sleep via an ambitious restoration project. Even some of the young men - now
mostly in their 70's and 80's - have come back, taking part in annual summer
reunions of their fellow tree-planters and construction workers.
enchanted when he saw it: " I knew it was a significant and rare place.
It's a remarkable survivor from the New Deal and it has national, not just
local, significance. It is a picturesque setting and the visual image is
something that most people haven't experienced. The CCC was one of the greatest
conservation programs in the history of the United States. It left a lasting
legacy that we still benefit from and this is a great opportunity to preserve
the site." said Anderson. "The vast majority of these camps were
either torn down or burnt to the ground. Those that had a pre-fab style were
disassembled and removed from their sites after the depression. This camp is so
rare, it speaks volumes about this country's history. It should be saved."
was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Forest
Service, in partnership with the Preservation Alliance and with help from many
sources including the city of Blackduck, Beltrami County which served as the
project's fiscal agent, the former CCC members, numerous volunteers, including
those associated with the Forest Service's Passport in Time program, and
individual contributors, is now in the process of restoring the education
building and stabilizing some of the others.
project has been a real success," Anderson said, smiling. "Preserving
another building here is a major accomplishment that should be celebrated. It's
tough to raise funds to do this kind of work. But the rewards for everyone are
great when the work is finished. We can all learn from these buildings. They
have a lot to teach."
...The camp is located 6 miles south of Blackduck, Minnesota on County Road 39. An open-air picnic shelter is located at the camp. It was built by the CCC and moved from the Cut Foot Sioux area to the Camp in 1986. Benjamin and Carls Lakes are visible from the barracks. A one - mile trail runs through Camp Rabideau. Interpretive displays highlight the buildings and history of the area.