NOREEN: The New Deal was big in Palmer Park

BARRY NOREEN Updated: December 21, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 21, 2012

Gazette reader Joe Oppelt noticed signs of human activity in the distant past in Palmer Park, having seen an old foundation and an abandoned well.

“I’ve heard there was a CCC or WPA camp in Palmer Park during the Depression,” he wrote.

Indeed there was, Joe.

For the uninitiated, CCC stand for Civilian Conservation Corps., one of the many programs that were a part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s. Under the CCC program, young men across the nation lived in camps and performed a variety of manual labor jobs.

These men agreed to send most of their wages to their families. Many people now criticize the New Deal as the worst sort of big government abuse, but it was viewed differently at the time.

Leah Davis Witherow, curator of history for the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, provided an old clipping from The Gazette and a bit of background on the CCC camp in Palmer Park: “It closed in 1937, but for a time we had four in the area and they did a tremendous amount of work in our beautiful parks.”

The Scribe, a publication at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, credited the CCC workers for building most of the trail system that exists today in the park. “Between 1935 and 1936 they lived in barracks where the ball fields are today and worked daily in the park,” the Scribe reported a few years ago.

If you click on this link — http:

/coloradopreservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/c.pdf —you can see a list of CCC camps in Colorado. You’ll see that the National Park system was a big beneficiary of CCC labor.

Reader Walt Schuman said “when reading stories of violent events, especially involving death of a person or child, I wonder what alcohol or drugs (legal and illegal) are in the perpetrator’s system.... I’d be very interested to know if there are any patterns emerging.”

In 2009 the Columbia University-based National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released a 144-page study that concluded “alcohol and other drugs are significant factors in all crime. In 2006, alcohol and other drugs were involved in these inmate offenses:

— 78 percent of violent crimes

— 83 percent of property crimes

— 77 percent of public order, immigration or weapon offenses; and probation

parole violations.”

In 2008, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition reported that 22 percent of Colorado’s inmates were convicted of a drug-related offense. The same report revealed that in Colorado, “82% of women in prison have been assessed to be in need of substance abuse treatment.”

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at 719-636-0363 or barry.noreen@gazette.com

 

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