Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy
"Passing the Legacy to Future Generations"  

2019 Annual Gathering

2019 CCC Legacy Annual Gathering
Letchworth State Park

Castile, New York

September 26-29, 2019

The 2019 CCC Legacy Gathering at Letchworth State Park was a big hit among the attendees.  The Friends of Letchworth welcomed us with enthusiasm and an sincere display of their historical knowledge of the park.  It was a great combination of education and a fall sightseeing trip to the mountains of New York.  The tours touched on CCC activity of the four camps who served the park, Native American culture, early settlement history and the conservaton efforts of William Pryor Letchwork original owner of the park land. 

The event was an all-around comingling of history, honoring the "Boys" and awareness of the current projects that make Letchworth the outstaning park that it is today.  

Thanks to all involved with Letchworth State Park.
Thursday, September 26, Registration and Welcome

After registration on Thursday, everyone gathered at the Genesee River Restaurant & Reception Center in Mt. Morris.  The opening introduction was given by Tom Cook and attendees introduced themselves and talked about their interest in the CCC.   Hearing about the varied interests of researchers, advocates, and family members created a feeling that heritage in Letchworth was in good hands. 

 Three CCC Boys were in attendance.  Walter Atwood, FL; Ralph Bonville, Maine, and Lawrence Fowler of Indiana. With smiles on their faces the happy CCC trio greeted all of us “kids” and let us know how much they appreciated being at the event.  

 Attendance varied from 30—50 people during the event.  


Friday, September 27, Historic Tour of the park sights 

Friday was filled with a variety of interesting activities.  Starting with a bus tour that took us to several interesting sights along the main corridor of the park. 

 Letchworth had four CCC camps in the park:  Gibsonville, Great Bend, St. Helena, and the Lower Falls.    Each year, a memorial bouquet  is placed within the camp area to honor the men who served. 

 The first stop was the SP-17 Gibsonville Camp location.  The one remaining structure is a restored chimney of the officers barracks.  

 Tom Cook  shared the history of Camp Gibson and CCC enrollee Ralph Bonville placed the commemorative bouquet.

Humphrey Nature Center:  

While there, we enjoyed the nature center displays that depict the parks natural resources and watched video about the parks construction.  The interpretive displays included a video shot from overhead by a drone that captured the gorge carved out by the Genesee River and highlighted the many water falls in the park.   The group also had a short workshop on promoting our organizations so we could better promote and preserve the heritage of the CCC. 

Glen Iris Inn...anyone hungry?

Lunch was enjoyed at the Glen Iris Inn.   Originally the home of William Pryor Letchworth, conservationist and philanthropist, he donated his estate which comprised the original 1000 acres of the park and included the Upper, Middle and Lower falls so that the gorge might remain a place of inspiration and be saved from any future development.  The sound of rushing water over the Upper Falls creates an atmosphere of peace and serenity as you enjoy the grounds of Glen Iris.    A self guided tour included the William Prior Letchworth Museum that brings attention to Genesee Valley archaeological relics, Native American history, and early settlement history. 

 Camp St. Helena:

Camp St. Helena, Co. 264, camp S -76 and S-37 was the second campsite where we stopped to place the commemorative bouquet of flowers.   St. Helena was once a small thriving village in the 1820s, but over time  the constant flooding finally lead to the need for flood control and in 1930s utility companies bought the land with plans to build a dam.   In the 1950s as a flood control dam neared completion, the homes were removed, the cemetery was relocated to Castile, NY, and the bridge was dismantled.  

The CCC Camp was erected in May 1934 on the flats that are now the lower St. Helena Picnic Area.  The CCC constructed roads, waterlines and reservoirs and operated a nearby quarry.  The camp closed in May 1936. 

Friday Evening activities:  After a quiet afternoon exploring the Glen Iris grounds and Camp St. Helena, we headed back to Mt. Morris for dinner.  Friends of Letchworth member, Paul Zielinski, shared his video  “The CCC in Letchworth Park”.  The evening ended with the CCC Legacy Business meeting.   Meeting minutes and Treasurers report are shared on pages 10 and 11. 





Saturday, September 28 Activities

The WPA (Works Progress Administration) Gallery:  Our first stop for the day was the WPA Art Gallery.  This was a unique experience especially for those who appreciate the mission of the Federal Art Project of the New Deal.   The WPA Gallery features paintings by artists who captured America during the Depression.  The collect is considered to be the largest collections of art created during the Federal Art Project that is held outside the Smithsonian.  The collection is part of the Livingston Arts Center which is a collaborative project of the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and Livingston County.

 The location of the gallery has an interesting history of its own.  The gallery is located in the former doctor’s apartments who worked at Mount Morris Tuberculosis Sanatorium which was establish in 1936 and remained open until 1971.   During the Federal Art Project, artists painted pictures for the patients rooms which was later stored in the buildings after it was no longer actively used.   In 1972, the county purchased the sanatorium and along with it came 230 pieces of depression era art.       

 CCC Worker Statue Ceremony at the Lower Falls:  On National Public Lands Day, 2001, NACCCA member Leo Downey, Sr. spearheaded the effort to place a CCC Worker Statue in the park.  On National Public Lands Day  eighteen years later, CCC Legacy was at the park to celebrate the placement of the statue and honor the men of the CCC who had built the park.   

 Under the protection for a great tent, the ceremony began with speakers from New York State Parks, Friends  of Letchworth and CCC Legacy.  Tom Cook opened the festivities.  The remarks set the tone for the pride felt in the CCC, the preservation efforts at Letchworth, and the annual commemoration of the CCC Worker Statue at the Lower Falls area.

In a special ceremony, a new flag pole was dedicated and the CCC community gathered to remember the men who served.  The commemorative bouquet was placed at the base of the statue to recognized the location of the Co. 201, S-49.    

After the ceremony, attendees had a chance to take a scenic CCC walk, visit the Octagon Shelter, eat a box lunch and proceed to the next destination. 

Saturday night, Awards Banquet

Giving special recognition to members and guests is always a time for reflecting and reminiscing about the year’s activities.  Sharing the camaraderie and stories that accompany each award is a time for being thankful for all of our dedicated members.

As the Annual Gathering closes, sincere special thanks is offered  to Tom Cook, Friends of Letworth, and Naomi Shaw, Chairman of the Annual CCC Legacy Gathering Committee.  

A great job...creating great memories. 


2019 Awards

Recognizing the outstanding efforts accomplished by our members is one of the highlights of the membership year.  Each year at the CCC Legacy Gathering the Awards Banquet is held to bring attention to our members and their accomplishments.  

This year the recipients were:

 Legacy Achievement Award: 

  •  Ralph Bonville, CCC Boy—Maine
  •  Lawrence Fowler, CCC Boy—Indiana
  •  George Smith, CCC Boy—Maryland
  •  Kenneth Baldridge, Author & Educator, Utah

 Education Award:

  •  Thomas Cook, Author and Historian, Letchworth State Park

 Stewardship Award:

  •  Edwin & Karen Atwood, Tionesta Valley Snowmobile Club, Warren, PA
  •  John Eastlake, Williamsport, PA

 Certificates of Appreciation—Letchworth State Park:

  •  Letchworth State Park System
  •  Friends of Letchworth State Park
  •  Thomas Breslin, Letchworth Park manager, retired
  •  Paul Ziegler, Friends of Letchworth State Park, Historical content event presenter
  •  Rosemary Hoey, Friends of Letchworth
  •  Samuel; Sceusa—CCC Boy who served at Letchworth
  •  Kelly Lawrence,Jr., Son of Kelly Lawrence, Sr. 
  •  Leo R. Downey, Sr.—given to son, Leo R. Downey to continuing the work of his father
  •  Deborah Bump, Genesee Valley Counsel of the Arts

 Certificates of Appreciation

  •  Board of Directors
  •  Ann Madore—Chapter 111 for helping to support the Chapter. 


Website Builder