Conserving Memory: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Western Maryland
By Colleen Esther Walter
Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts 2011
The New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is often heralded as a perfect cohesion for solving two of the nation’s most neglected resources: unemployed young men and a decimated natural landscape. While this study does not debate this conclusion, it adds to this interpretation by focusing on a specific region, Garrett and Allegany Counties in Maryland, to explore the impact of the Corps at a local level. The examination includes the exploration of the history of the region, the changes to the landscape and surrounding environment, the effect of an influx of young men upon the nearby farming and mountain communities, and the economic impact for both the enrollees and for the local population. A variety of sources were employed, including local archives and museums, photographs, official government publications, health statistics, crime statistics, marriage records, census records, newspaper articles, and artifacts in private collections. The research process demonstrates the lack of material available to the public. To that end, this project also involved processing documents for the Maryland State Archives and resulted in an exhibition proposal that incorporates all of the research with personal holdings, memoirs, and photographs. Such an exhibit serves to reinsert the Civilian Conservation Corps into the local public memory, providing a tangible connection to the forests and parks that enhance the local community.