The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 7)

(Digital Images. Photographs Privately Held By Cynthia Shenette; Text Copyright (c) 2013 Cynthia Shenette) After three months and almost sixty photos later this is my last post with photos from my dad's CCC album from the dam project he worked on in Campton, New Hampshire.  I knew it was going to take a while to post all of the photos, but I will admit it took a little longer than expected. There are a few vintage postcards in my dad's album from Fort Devens, but my guess is they are easy to find elsewhere on either eBay or the Internet so I won't be taking the the time to post them here, at least for now.

My dad is in the photo below on the scaffolding on the dam.  I was happy to find him in one of the construction photos.  I also found the photo which included the young African American man below interesting.  My impression before seeing this photo was that the CCCs were mostly if not all segregated.  I did a bit of quick research and discovered that the CCCs were integrated at the beginning, but that changed in the later years of the program.  Obviously, I don't know what relationship the young man below had with the other enrollees in his camp but he looks as if he is included in the photo as part of a group of buddies.  I'd like to think that was the case.

It's time to say goodbye to Campton and my time with the CCCs. Again, if you recognized anyone in any of the photos that I've posted over the last three months I'd love to hear from you.  I love to add a name to a face!

Henry Albert Shenette

An Integrated CCC Unit

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The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 6) - Wordless Wednesday

(Digital Images. Photographs Privately Held By Cynthia Shenette; Text Copyright (c) 2013 Cynthia Shenette) Here is the latest installment in my series of posts featuring photos from my dad's album from the Civilian Conservation Corps.  My previous posts showed photos which focused more on camp life in the CCCs with only a few photos of the construction of the dam in Campton, New Hampshire.  This post is all about the actual construction of the dam. It's easy to drive by a dam or bridge or public works project of any kind and take the construction of the project for granted.  I think these photos really show some of the labor it took to build the dam, and they are especially poignant when you take into account the young age of the recruits and building methods at the time the dam was built in the 1930s.

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The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 5) - Wordless Wednesday

(Digital Images. Photographs Privately Held By Cynthia Shenette; Photographs and Text, Copyright (c) 2013 Cynthia Shenette) Here is the latest round of photographs from my dad's photo album from the Civilian Conservation Corps at Campton, New Hampshire.  My dad, Henry Albert Shenette, was a man of few words when it came to documenting the photographs in his album.  So far I've only found one picture in the bunch that has any information on it.  The photo of my dad directly below says, "1934 Age 18."  Well, that's better than nothing. I'm just guessing mind you, but given that all of the photos are the same size and seem to be taken in colder weather, they were probably all taken around the same time.  Maybe between October and December of 1934?  Why do I think this?  My dad joined the CCCs on 17 April 1934 and his birthday was in February.  If the pictures were taken in 1934 and he was 18 years old they were probably taken at the end of the year, not the beginning.

Left: Henry Albert Shenette, 1934 Age 18
Right: Unknown Friend

Construction of the  Dam in Campton, New Hampshire
Construction of the Dam in Campton, New Hampshire

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The Worcester Tornado, June 9, 1953

The tornado from the eastern shore of Indian Lake.
This is a repost from June 9, 2011. Today is the 60th anniversary of the Worcester tornado.

(Text copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette; Photo is not under copyright and is available from the Internet Archive.  )

According to Mom June 9, 1953 was a hot day.  A really hot day.  She left work and was walking from her office in the Federal Building up Main Street to the bus stop in front of Barnard's department store when the sky started to get dark.  When she heard thunder she decided to wait at the front of the store under cover, because rain seemed imminent.  It wasn't long before the rain started.

Even fifty years later she remembered the storm, vividly.  She described it as a "a wild storm" with a black sky, thunder, lightening, and an intense driving rain.  It was nothing like she had ever seen before.  When the storm finally stopped she started to hear sirens.  Lots of them.  One after another.  Emergency vehicles--police cars, fire trucks, ambulances--racing up Main St. to the north part of the city.  She said it wasn't long before emergency vehicles began to return back down Main St., sirens still blaring.  Again, fifty years later, my mom's most vivid memory besides the storm itself, was of seeing pick-up trucks carrying dozens of bloody, wounded people down Main St. to hospitals around Worcester.  There were too many injured people and not enough ambulances to transport everyone.

When my mom finally did get home she was relieved to find everything was okay.  My grandmother, who was at home at the time, described an awful storm.   The family home, the home where I later grew up, was near Indian Lake in Worcester.  My grandmother said that after the storm passed, she looked out at the lake and saw huge, churning waves like you might see on a stormy day at the ocean.  My mother and her family still had no idea what had happened.  They didn't know that a massive tornado, one mile in width, had just blown through the city less than two miles away from their home.  They were the lucky ones. 

For my family the tornado was a close call, and given the losses other people suffered, more like an inconvenience.  My parents wedding was scheduled June 13, and there was some doubt as to whether they would be able to hold their wedding reception in Sterling, two towns north of Worcester.  The wedding guests were able to drive around and through the areas of destruction, and the reception went on as scheduled.

The Worcester tornado left a path of destruction through Petersham, Barre, Rutland, Holden, Worcester, Shrewsbury, Westboro, and Southboro.  A second funnel cloud spun off the initial storm near Grafton to travel southeast eventually ending in the Wrentham area.  When all was said and done 94 lives were lost, 15,000 were left homeless, 4,000 homes were destroyed, and the storm did damage to the tune of $53 million, in 1953 dollars.

My mother said that no one had ever heard of a tornado in Massachusetts.  Certainly not one with that kind of power.  Tornadoes were not classified according to the current Enhanced Fujita Scale in 1953 as they are today.  The Worcester tornado is currently classified as a EF4, though I have heard that it was a strong F4, possibly even an F5.  Last week's devastating series of tornadoes in Massachusetts are a painful reminder, that yes, it can happen here.

Tornado!: 84 Minutes, 94  Lives, is a wonderful book written by local Worcester author John M. O'Toole.  The book, written in 1993 and still available through Amazon, is an "...eyewitness story of the tornado with the highest winds ever recorded," a true statement when the book was published.  The record for highest winds stood until the Oklahoma City tornado of 1999.  Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy wrote a great post a couple of weeks ago about the Worcester Tornado.  I also invite you to read Susan Clark's wonderful post, Our Places - Those Places Thursday if you haven't already.  Her post is one of those pieces that makes me want to say, "What she said..."  Finally, the American Red Cross of Central and Western Massachusetts is accepting donations for tornado disaster relief.  Please donate if you can.

Yes, it can happen here...

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The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 4)

(Digital Images. Photographs Privately Held By Cynthia Shenette; Text Copyright (c) 2013 Cynthia Shenette) Here is the latest installment in my series of posts on my dad's photos from the CCC camp in Campton, NH.  I love the piano in the top photo.  While it isn't as obvious as the pool table front and center it still says something about the type of entertainment available to the young men at the camp.  I also wonder if that little stove in the back of that big room was sufficient heating on those long, cold New Hampshire winters.  And what about the three stoves in the photo of the barracks below. I bet it was tough waking up on a cold morning in January.  Brr...

Other Posts You Might Like:

The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 1)
The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 2)
The Civilian Conservation Corps in New Hampshire (Part 3)
The Worcester Tornado, June 9, 1953 - Those Places Thursday