On March 27, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had the Senate Bill 5.598 presented to Congress. This was the Emergency Conservation Work Act (ECW). Both houses approved the bill and it passed on March 31st. With the signing of Executive Order No. 6101 by the President Roosevelt the name was changed to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC had to fight against complaints and fears of labor unions. In the final analysis, the CCC provided work to young men. President Roosevelt then created the Works Progress Administration (WPA) on May 6, 1935 with Executive Order No. 7034 under authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935. Both fought political opponents in their goals. The results of their labor have had lasting effects on the projects even to the present day. The Shade Swamp Nature Trail with its Sanctuary and its small zoo was aided from actions of the New Deal.

How was the New Deal viewed by Congressional members in Connecticut? On April 4, 1934, 175 Connecticut Industrialists (two thirds of the total state’s industrialists) met in Washington D.C. with the state’s Congressional delegation…, the topic – New Deal. Industrialists would go home happy with the meeting’s results. The Industrialists were unanimous in their negative opinion to the value of New Deal programs. Business leaders condemned the New Deal’s industrial labor bills. Republican Senator Frederic Walcott agreed with their feelings. Walcott viewed the actions of the Industrialists in positive terms. Democratic Senator Augustine Longeran asked for a fair test of the New Deal programs. He also stated people could get along better with less legislation. Industrialists’ leaders considered the meeting as a non-partisan gathering, but were grim in their fate with New Deal legislation.[19]

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)’s Camp Roberts, which housed Company #175, was stationed at Black Rock State Park in Thomaston, Connecticut. This camp worked on the shelter of at Shade Swamp Sanctuary. The camp was established May 30, 1933 and was discontinued Sept. 28, 1937.

On March 8, 1938, the CCC Director informed Democratic Connecticut Representative Herman Kopplemann of the closing of CCC camps in West Cornwall and Madison. Three hundred camps were to be closed due to the reduction of CCC funds. A third unnamed camp in Connecticut had been mentioned.[20]

In April 1940 Congress attempted to stop the closing of 173 CCC camps, with two being in Connecticut. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to cut 25 million dollars from the CCC’s budget. The 1941 fiscal year budget was reduced by 65 million dollars but the house put 50 million dollars back into the budget that was later changed by the Senate cutting the 25 million dollars mentioned. Connecticut Senators, Democratic Frank Maloney and Republican John Danaher, favored in helping the CCC.[21]  


[19] Arthur Wimer, “Industrialists Quiz State Congress Group on New Deal,” Hartford Courant, Published on April 5, 1934.

[20] Arthur Wimer, “Two Camps to be Closed,” Hartford Courant, Published on March 9, 1938.

[21] Arthur Wimer, “CCC Funds are Sliced $25,000,000,” Hartford Courant, Published on April 24, 1940