CCC Wind Cave History
In late 2019 the CCC Museum of South Dakota received a couple of publications from the Civilian Conservation Corps days. One of those publications was an annual from 1937. We are not sure who it may have belonged to. It should be noted that a digitized copy of this year (1937), as well as other years, is available for review at the Museum.
A second item is a history of Camp Wind Cave Company 2754. This publication, as of this time, is unique to the museum collection. In addition to the history are several photos depicting service at Camp Ripley after CCC enrollment was completed.
Both items were donated by Karen Murphy of Hill City, SD. The Wind Cave History belonged to Thomas Murphy who was a member of Company 2754 and later stationed at Camp Ripley. This publication as well as the Ripley photos will be digitized.
Below was taken from the Wind Cave History
Camp Wind Cave, Company 2754, Hot Springs, South Dakota, was organized under the authorization of Special Order No. 149 from Fort Meade, dated July 9, 1934. This was the first and only National Park Camp organized in the state of South Dakota and is located a half mile east of the Wind Cave entrance in Wind Cave Canyon.
LIEUT. HUFFMAN, Inf.-Res., and LIEUT. WOLFF, Eng.-Res., along with eighteen picked enrollees as cadre from Company 1792, Camp Mayo, Custer, South Dakota, spent the first month of the company's life making preparations for the camp ground and the entrance of the "rookies." By the end of July the camp was well organized, and the membership of the company included 241 enrollees of South Dakota. On July 30, 1934, the company headquarters was moved from Camp Mayo to the present location and Company 2754 began its fight toward progress and recognition.
The following officers who have served as Commanding Officers of this company are: C. DEF. HUFFMAN, First Lieut., Inf.-Res., E. W. DVORAK, First Lieut., Inf.-Res., Earl A. Madsen, First Lieut., Inf.-Res. (and GORDON I. HENRY, First Lieut., Inf.-Res., 7th C.A.S.C., who is the present Commander).
(The present Army personnel is: GORDON I. HENRY, First Lieut., Inf. Res., 7th C.A.S.C. Commanding Officer; Carl E. SIXBURY, Capt., Med.-Res.)
Wind Cave National Park has various projects which afford excellent job training for the enrollees. They have helped sink a 208-foot shaft into Wind Cave for the installation of an elevator for the convenience of the visitors. The enrollees have sloped banks for the park highway, have built fire trails, dug and constructed concrete reservoirs, built fences for wild game pastures, erected and remodeled buildings, installed concrete stairs in the cave, repaired cave trails, repaired and installed indirect lighting system in the cave, landscaped all of the Wind Cave Headquarters Area, and at present they are constructing a new elevator building.
Camp Wind Cave has an efficient educational department headed by Mr. Jay J. Blackburn, Educational Advisor. Many classes of academic, vocational, music, arts and crafts are being held. Many of the enrollees have secured outside employment through this department which holds close relationship with a local employment agency.
Company 2754 has always been athletically minded. The camp baseball team won the South Dakota District CCC championship three years consecutively, 1935, 1936, and 1937. The Wind Cave track team won second in the CCC district meet in Rapid City in 1935 and second in a CCC track meet in Hot Springs in the same season. Other sports the Wind Cave men have entered and gained a reputation are: Basketball, softball, and tennis. Many sports such as horseshoe, ping-pong, pool swimming, and volleyball have been confined to intra-camp meets. During the summer months Camp Wind Cave had three individual teams entered in three different leagues and rated high in each. The leagues are Custer Softball League, Hot Springs Softball League and the Southern Black Hills Baseball Association.
Wind Cave boasts of a quartet (Wind Cave Quartet) and a chorus. The Quartet has tied for first in the K.O.B.H. amateur contest sponsored by the Black Hills Amusement Company, Rapid City, South Dakota. Besides this contest the Quartet has made many appearances on occasions too many to enumerate.
This Company has many times responded to emergency calls to fight forest fires, to assist in the relief work after a $200,000 flood which struck Hot Springs, a fruitless search of the hills about Hot Springs for a missing citizen, and assisted in carrying out the coal in the High School coal bin at Buffalo Gap, South Dakota which was on fire. During the flood crisis along the Mississippi River LIEUT. SAWERBREY and First-Aid Man Don Beck were on detached service aiding refugees at Wynne, Arkansas, for three and one-half weeks.
During the three years of Camp Wind Cave’s life, a creditable name has been accomplished. It has won seven consecutive superior ratings, it has won the reputation of one of the most outstanding camps in the Black Hills, all because of the wonderful cooperation of the enrollees, the Army personnel, and the technical service.
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