History in the moving

December 16, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

BIG POOL - A piece of Fort Frederick State Park history, a building constructed and used by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was moved a quarter of a mile southwest to the fort property on Wednesday.

Park Historian Steve Robertson said he has heard conflicting accounts about how the CCC used the building.

As with other buildings erected by the CCC at the fort between 1934 and 1936, it was made of tar paper and wood, and was considered temporary, Robertson said.

The building was moved in the 1940s to serve as a community center, Robertson said.

Robertson said the building was never intended to last more than 70 years. The building was estimated to be 16 feet by 26 feet with a height of 17 feet.


Among those watching the moving of the building Wednesday were two men who said they used to play inside it as children.

"It is a part of the history, no matter how you look at it," Charles McLucas, 76, said.

McLucas said he played in the building when he was "about 10" and Edward C. Whyte III, 75, who was standing nearby, was 8. Whyte's father was park manager from 1935 to 1951.

The return of the building is significant because it is part of the fort's heritage, Alicia Robertson, president of the Friends of Fort Frederick, said Wednesday. Without the corps, the fort's walls would lay in ruins today, said Alicia Robertson, who is married to Steve Robertson.

Workers for the CCC - created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression - were responsible for returning the park to much of how it looks today, Steve Robertson said.

The CCC had a dual purpose: The employees earned money while learning skills and trades while the state park benefited as the workers restored the fort walls, uncovered foundations of buildings, built picnic facilities and did other work, Robertson said.

But what is important, Robertson said, is that it is rare for buildings used by the corps to be standing today. Park Superintendent Ralph Young said moving the building cost less than $5,000.

The park plans to have the building restored and used as an exhibit on the corps' work at the fort, Young said. The park has no current estimate on the cost of the restoration project, he said.

McLucas said that in addition to playing in the building before it was moved, he later attended picnics and festivals inside the building at its second location. The events were put on by the Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church, he said.

Glennie Snyder, 84, said she went to suppers and Halloween parties at the building. She was not at the state park Wednesday but said she considers it wonderful the building was moved and will be restored.

"I think it is great. I was going to encourage them to have it burned down," Snyder said. "It was getting to be an eyesore."

Robertson said the church has not used the building since the 1960s.

McLucas said he was pleased by the building's move and planned restoration. People will be able to look at the building and get a sense of what buildings the corps workers used and lived in, he said.

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