The 1930s Great Depression brought a new level of hardship to the American experience, where daily life could often be summed up in one word: Desperation.
The U.S. economy was on the ropes after 1929 and by the early 1930s, many American workers had gone from the assembly line to breadlines or marching in union picket lines. Poverty was everywhere.
By 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s answer to the crisis was the New Deal. That program included a national citizen’s relief effort that, among other governmental actions taken, resulted in the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC.
The CCC provided hundreds of thousands of unemployed men with a way off the streets and into military-style work camps whose locations were spread all across the country. The camps were open only to males.
The sites were headquarters for supervised work crews that labored on a variety of public works projects, including the Shenandoah Valley’s Shenandoah National Park and its ambitious Skyline Drive mountain roadway.
The CCC “boys,” as the camp enrollees were called at the time, led a vigorous outdoor life. The camps insulated them from the danger of falling into a state of hopelessness, with no future to look to back home, and kept them away from various sorts of prevailing disreputable behaviors and unhealthy temptations.
Most importantly, they could work hard and send their pay money back to needy families. Whenever they left the camps for good, they often took along newly-acquired job skills. The CCC program continued until the outbreak of World War II.
The very first CCC camp, Camp Roosevelt, had been built on one side of a forested mountain ridge, in eastern Shenandoah County, Va. On the other side, Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park were waiting to be built.Read more...
Spectacular mountaintop fall scenery has always been here, but it wasn’t always so accessible. The National Park Service celebrated its hundredth birthday this year. It brings to mind the Civilian Conservation Corps “boys” who built Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive and other public works during the 1930s. The first CCC camp in the nation, Camp Roosevelt, was located right here.
Sunspots Studios, 202 S. Lewis St. Live demonstrations daily until 4 p.m. Gift shop open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 540-885-0678 or visit www.sunspots.com
Rockingham County Administration building, N. Main St. and Gay St. Hosted by Col. D.H. Lee Martz Camp 10 - Sons of Confederate Veterans. 5th Brigade Commander, Davis Michael Virts: Plight of Confederate POWs at Point Lookout Federal Military Prison. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, call 540-810-6017
Goodson Chapel - Recital Hall, 1400 L.P. Hill Dr. Two Guys, Two Guitars with Michael Kramer and Rick Whitehead. Faculty recital. For more information, call 1-800-432-2266 or visit www.su.edu/performs
Monstrous Possibilities: Feminist Potentialities of Contemporary Horror. Visiting Scholars Lecture series program. For more information, call 540-568-6472 or visit www.jmu.edu
Cleo Driver Miller Art Gallery. Line of Thought: Two- and three-dimensional work by Ed Dolinger. Artist Talk and Reception Oct. 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Runs Oct. 3 through Nov. 2, Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit www.bridgewater.edu
Duke Hall Gallery. Surabhi Ghosh, Rowland Ricketts, Michael Andrews. Patterns and processes of industrial textile design from an artistic point of view. Runs Oct. 24-Dec. 9, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 540-568-6407 or visit www.jum.edu
Room 1261, Harrison Hall. Alex C. Parrish, assistant professor of writing, rhetoric and technical communication: Biocultural paradigm for the study of rhetorical theory and practice. Cohen Center Speaker Series. Free admission. For more information, visit www.jmu.edu/cohencenter
Rubys Arcade, 165 S. Main St. Farm-to-Table Breakfast. Part of nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Benefits Harrisonburg Farmers Market. Tickets: $10 in advance,$12 at the door. Students: $8 in advance, $10 at the door. For more information, visit www.downtownharrisonburg.org
Room 106 of the Suter Science Center. Suter Science Seminar series lecture. Kevin Clark, founding director of the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University: Role and impact of digital media in addressing the educational needs of diverse populations. Co-sponsored by the MA in Education program. For more information, visit www.emu.edu
Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium. Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. Presented by Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit www.su.edu
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W Main St. Monday at the Movies: Drums Along the Mohawk with Henry Fonda. Drama. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.WayneTheatre.org
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center mile 4.6 Skyline Drive. Traveling Quilt Exhibit: 13 art quilts created to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service, runs through Oct. 24. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/home
131 W. German St. Rusty Mondays Big Screen Film Club series. Diabolique at 6 p.m. Thriller. 8 p.m., Nosferatu the Vampyre. 1979. Remake of classic 1922 horror film. Donatations benefit Opera House Preservation Fund. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 304-876-3704 or visit www.operahouselive.com
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. Series continues on Oct. 24: Drums Along the Mohawk 1939, with Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert. All 7 p.m. screenings will include a brief introduction, short intermission, and optional film discussion afterwards led by The Classic Cinema Club. Films are subject to change. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit www.waynetheatre.org
Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station, 7712 Main St.Two-hour, guided car-caravan tour led by ranger vehicle: Chronological interpretation of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Stops at key landmarks. Presented by Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Oct 24, 28-29 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 540-869-3051 or visit nps.gov/cebe
ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by Shenandoah Valley Productions, a little “mom-and-pop” business, but one that’s located right here in the region. Our mission has long been to showcase the area’s visual beauty, unique “Valley” people and culture and, of course, some really, really rich history.
We first fell in love with Virginia in 1970, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk. That was the year Virginia officially declared itself “for lovers.” But for us, the real love affair started in 1977, when we first visited the Shenandoah Valley on our wedding night. We moved here a year later, and well ...we are still here!
So it’s kind of a long story how we got from 1978 to this website, but here it is.
Website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras. Words alone may not really describe the place.
Our regional events listings are always up to date, and we’re not really selling anything on here. In fact, we get no outside funding, but are wholly independent. Like many of our friends and neighbors who also feel blessed to live here, free and independent, surrounded by peace and beauty.
Each month we head out to some part of this diverse region and do a feature story and travel video about it -- some cool event, piece of history or special place that makes the name "Shenandoah" so uniquely known worldwide.
So, come and set a spell, and please also consider making a donation. Either way, we’re glad you stopped by. Come on back to see us again!
Oh, and please visit our Facebook page, too.
Hugh Morrison Jr. photographed the people and places of Shenandoah County, Virginia, during the first half of the 1900s, until 1950. He compiled an immense body of work, now archived by the Shenandoah County Historical Society. The collection includes more than 25,000 digital images.