Many years ago the writer E. B. White—better known to the world as the one who spun the story of Charlotte’s Web—wrote of a trip for nostalgia. Entitled “Once More to the Lake,’ the essay …
Many years ago the writer E. B. White—better known to the world as the one who spun the story of Charlotte’s Web—wrote of a trip for nostalgia. Entitled “Once More to the Lake,’ the essay explores the effects of the passage of time on a place, alongside what remains the same. In the case of White, it’s a lake in Maine. Among the many things that disturbed White on his visit, was the absence of a middle track for animal-powered convey- ance. With humanity having switched to artificial horsepower, the world changed, and horses weren’t needed for their old function of transportation power.
E. B. White died in 1985, but a visitor to the abandoned site of Camp Globe in Clark County might find similar themes to those explored by the author of Charlotte’s web. Little today remains to show what the site once was, while the record of history contained in newsprint, gives a glimpse of camp life and its routines, if not quite a site blueprint.
Closed in 1942, Camp Globe was an outpost of the Civil Conservation Corps, and none too special in its day, if by special one means “unique” or “only.” One of many different outposts spread throughout the state of Wisconsin and beyond, Camp Globe as Camp No. 2618 off what is now Rock Dam Road helped families get back on their feet, in the wake of the catastrophic world-changing event that was the Great Depression. So what was life like at Camp Globe?
The Globetrotter as the official newspaper for Camp No. 2618 tells us. Thanks to technology undreamed of when the camp closed in 1942, it’s all just a mouse click away, cached in the McIntyre Library webpage for UW-Eau Claire, under “digital collections” in the “Civil Conservation Corps Camp Newsletters, 1933 – 1941.” It’s still not a full record, but worth a look.
Those seeking on-site text copies will find these at the library itself, in the fifth floor special collections. Composed like an an – nual, the official paper for Camp Globe chronicles life from 1935 to 1937 at the site near Rock Dam. So what was it like?
In the first place, it was regimented, with posts for Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, and Chief Foreman. The Civil Conservation Corps was a quasi military organization, and even ‘enlisted and discharged its members, prior to World War 2 taking the spotlight.
In the second, it had a large newspaper staff, with an Editor in Chief, Literary Editor, Art Editor, Assistant Art Editor, Sports Editor, Social and Educational Editor, Joke Editor (how this worked we don't know), an Advertising Manager, and five, yes FIVE, reporters.
Dedicating its first issue to Captain Harry W. Taylor as Camp Commander and Dr. Gordon Granger as Camp Doctor, the entire company (of enlistees) took the opportunity “of expressing our appreciation for their efforts, in the administration of this camp, and the kind understanding and sympathy which has character- ized both gentlemen,” giving best wishes to the two men.
Coming out in the first issue as well, meanwhile, was that the Fairchild camp was going to be discontinued, which ended up happening, with many of its conservation corps personnel going to Ellsworth Wisconsin, where another camp was built to the northwest of that city, on a farm. Captain Taylor, meanwhile, was due to leave the camp soon and return to his home in Oak Park, Illinois.
This happened from time to time with enlistees as well, as they found work elsewhere, sometimes based on the skills they learned in camp. Captain Taylor’s replacement, meanwhile, was to be first lieutenant William Ennis, from Chicago and formerly of the Bradstreet Co., it was related.
“In the short time Ennis has been with us we feel well enough acquainted to be assured of a highly satisfactory officer in com mand,” the news related from 87 Years ago.
While at camp meanwhile, a common occupation of those present was building things like fire lanes and bridges, in order that the forest didn’t burn over. From time to time visits came from outside as well, as related in The Globetrotter.
“The last of September a band concert was given at this camp by the Stanley City Band and was well attended," the official newspaper for Camp Globe related. “The camp orchestra made its debut, and was very well received.” A farewell dance was to be held for Captain Taylor in November.
Not to be outdone in industry, Camp Globe reported a library and school room in Barracks V, suggesting there were children on site (from the school).
“The library and study room wile 12 by 24 feet,” the Globetrotter related, while, “shelving space for about one thousand books, 30 to 40 magazines and five newspapers will be provid ed.” But in case you live elsewhere, newspaper were a common part of camp life in CCC Camps, with the ‘The Voice of 1610’ for Camp 1610 (aka “Camp Connors Lake”) up by Phillips, Wisconsin, while The Duck Call from Camp Nelson reported “220,000 trees planted” in just 840 man days.
An average crew of 70 men accomplished the planting of 220,000 trees in 12 working days or a total of 5040 man hours,” The Duck Call relates of camp life further south. Up by Westboro (perhaps you’ve heard the name), there was Camp Mondeaux- River, which chose the French title “Mondeaux-Vous” for its top front page.
Now gone in all but fond memory for the most part, the goings on of the Civil Conservation Corps and its camps live on in the legacy left behind, both in tree planting and other ways. Camp Globe is a good example of this. With a winding road visible from above for those who know where to look (Section 19 of Foster North) off Camp Globe/Rock Dam road, nary a building comes into view.
Save the road in, it’s all carefully planted trees today.