Opera House to present lecture on Panama’s Civilian Conservation Corps

"Progress Through the CCC" is a work by Arthur Brandon, who served with the Civilian Conservation Corps at Sibley State Park in New London, Minn. This work was produced under the Public Works of Art program in which roughly 300 young artists were sent to CCC camps around the country to make a pictorial record of life and work in the Corps, considered the greatest conservation movement in American history.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House continues its new series of free-admission local history lectures when it presents The Great Depression: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Panama on Wed., Oct. 17, at 7 p.m.

The Great Depression: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Panama is the sixth of seven multimedia presentations over the course of this year as part of a Chautauqua County History Series. The series features area town, village and county historians presenting lectures on topics of local history and their connection to the world at large.

October’s program features Village of Panama/Town of Harmony Historian Pam Brown. Her multimedia presentation includes photos and talks in detail about the presence of Panama’s Camp S110, the only Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Chautauqua County.

The CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18-25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17-28.

The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC aimed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression.

Enrollees of the CCC planted nearly three billion trees to help reforest America; constructed trails, lodges, and related facilities in more than 800 parks nationwide; and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas.

Admission to the presentation is free, with donations gratefully accepted. The final program in the lecture series will be held on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, at 4 p.m. and will feature several historians discussing WWI and its Chautauqua County connections.

Support for Opera House programming comes from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County, and the Arts Services Initiative of WNY’s Give for Greatness program. The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.