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New Germany State Park Sign Pays Tribute to Civilian Conservation Corps


Park Technicians Sean Rafter (left) and Mark Beals stand beside the new sign.

Park Technicians Sean Rafter (left) and Mark Beals stand beside the new sign.

New Germany State Park has created an entrance display that fuses past and present, bolstering a brand new sign with stones hand-cut by Civilian Conservation Corps members nearly 80 years ago. This tribute is significant, as the park’s lands were once home to one of the Corps’ many nationwide camps.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out,” said Park Manager Erin Thomas. “Not only is this a beautiful sign, but it tells a story that will forever be unique to New Germany.”

Park technicians Mark Beals and Sean Rafter developed the idea to honor the Civilian Conservation Corps. They gathered surplus stones, crafted by Corps members to create cabins, and used them for the sign’s foundation.

Founded in the 1930s to create jobs and help restore natural resources, the Corps recruited unemployed men ages 17 to 25 to live in and work on camps supervised by the U.S. Army. The program provided jobs for more than three million Americans between 1933 and 1942.

The New Germany camp (Company 326, Camp S-52) was home to approximately 150 men from 1933 to 1938. While there, the CCC boys as they were nicknamed, transformed New Germany into a popular recreation destination. One of their most notable accomplishments was the construction of 11 cabins, which are still in use today.

Unbeknownst to most present day park visitors, when Camp S-52 closed down in 1938, the CCC boys had just started working on a 12th cabin. They had painstakingly cut all of the stones by hand and had already arranged some of them. With no time to finish the job, the rest of the stones were left scattered around the unfinished foundation where they remained untouched until now.