A great find at the Becket Atheneum in the historical room, the memoirs of Herbert Mahn. He tells a stort story of his time enlisted in the CCC at October Mountain State Forest on Stanley Road, the camp we hiked a few weeks ago.

In my travels I ran into my old friend, Hunt, who lived on Park Street, Stoneham Massachusetts. He told me he couldn’t find a job since graduating in 1938. He had signed on to the CCC’s. Soon thereafter I went into the town office and talked to Mr. Owen about the CCC’s. He signed me up too. I was off on 7/16/1940. I met my friend, Hunt, at the Fargo Building in Boston and after our physicals, we were off, by train, on the B&A RR.

The train moved along until the middle of the afternoon when we reached Chester, Mass. Awaiting us at the station were 4 rack trucks with canvas tops. We loaded, filling the trucks completely. We headed west on Route 20. We soon climbed “Jacobs Ladder” and turned off route 20 and headed towards Becket, Mass. We stopped just off the main road at October State Forest where we entered an old CCC camp. The camp was pretty run down and as we lined up we were told that we would improve everything! On that first day we drew blankets, sheets, pillows, etc. We were carefully issued bunks and the place was filled according to Army notions. The Commanding Officer was Captain Wilkie and our camp was # 2141. Next bunk to me was another Stonehamite, John Surette. I didn’t really know John but I’d been in school with his brother, Peter. I knew his family and everybody knew “Frenchie”, his father. The kitchen and dining hall were temporalily manned by some Army men. Those workers were soon replaced with CCC men. The Army ran the kitchen and really the entire camp site. The second day we spent drawing uniforms, doing paper work, and generally filling all the jobs. They asked who had a driver’s license. I stepped forward and was told to steer an old Plymouth car while a dozen men pushed me to another area! I felt like a jerk! After I looked around I realized that I was lucky to be one of the few that had experience behind the wheel of a car or a truck. Most of these inner city young men had never driven a car!

The first work day we were divided into groups under the direction of a number of State employees. With the exception of some camp workers, we all worked for the State of Massachusetts from 8 AM to 5 PM. I was in a group of 22 men; directed by a Mr. Hovey. He was an older man and arrived in a 1929 Ford roadster pick-up truck.

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