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Rustic Architecture of the Civilian Conservation Corps and local history in Illinois, Michigan and Northern Wisconsin.

In the past ten years, I have come to realize the importance of documenting local histories before time and memory fade. Around 1997, it occurred to me that I knew very little about my father’s service in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and felt I owed him the courtesy of learning more about it. I began by reading everything available on the CCC and was upset that no books were written about the CCC camps in Illinois or Wisconsin.
Rustic Architecture, Civilian Conservation Corp  Main Lodge
After obtaining my father’s Civilian Conservation Corps records, I learned that he served as a lead carpenter in the hewing yard for Company 696 at Giant City Park in Makanda, Illinois. It was there he hewed the beams for the main lodge. During a manpower redistribution, my father switched to Company D-692. This company transferred to Mellen, Wisconsin in 1935 for the development of Copper Falls State Park. The drought of 1936 enlisted the help of these men to fight out-of-control fires that ravaged northern Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands and Isle Royale, Michigan. What I learned in my research from National Archives CCC records and newspaper accounts was that this was a company of courageous men pushed into extraordinary circumstances.

A visit to Giant City Park acquainted me with the lodge building that had become a special part of my father’s CCC experience. The state of Illinois had restored and preserved it as a masterpiece of rustic architecture that was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1988.

During my visit to Copper Falls State Park, I saw the log lodge that symbolized an important character trait of men who built it --- the building was a survivor of difficult circumstances. It had survived over 70 years of abusive Wisconsin winters and was still standing as a tribute to the men of the CCC.

I saw that I had two important goals before me--- to help protect the rustic CCC buildings in Copper Falls Park by getting them placed on the National Register of Historic Places and to document what the men of Company D-692 had accomplished.

Rustic Books LLC is the company name through which books are written, self-published, marketed and sold by Mary Schueller to tell this important story. The company was founded and licensed to sell books in the state of Wisconsin in 2005.

Mary has a PowerPoint presentation on the content of The Soldiers of Poverty and is available for speaking engagements. Museums, schools, historic societies and organizations may also obtain a copy of a script for a one-person, one-act play entitled The Water Flier: A Tribute To Jack Vilas, Pioneer Aviator. The play comes with a playbill and suggested music for putting on your own 45 minute production or making arrangements for a performance. E-mail us for availability, royalty and production fees.
 


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