Camp Thornton #2605 and the Civil Conservation Corps, Camp Motto: "String Along"
Image Courtesy of Karen Kruse
The marker is located in Thornton in Sweet Woods Park which is on the west side of Cottage Grove Avenue just south of its intersection with 183rd Street. The marker is located along a walking path, just inside the entrance to the forest preserve.
The Village of Thornton Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society
In the spring of 1934, Camp Thornton opened on this site as a home to young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). At first, the men slept in tents in grass and weeds three feet tall. Later they built their own military style barracks with mess halls, washrooms, toilets, showers, office quarters, lounge, and parade grounds.
The CCC was formed by the federal government during the Great Depression to help unemployed men and their families. The men enlisted for six months at a time; 18 months was the maximum length of service. CCC workers received $31 per month, $25 of which was sent home to their families. Army and Naval Reserve Officers governed the Corps. Civilian men taught trades, including concrete construction, bricklaying, carpentry, machinery operation, and tree planting.
Beautiful flagstone picnic shelters, roadways, and bridges built by the CCC can still be seen throughout the Cook County Forest Preserves and other local, state, and national parks around the country.
Camp Thornton existed until 1942. From June 1945 through April 1946, the camp was used as a German P.O.W. Camp. It was also home to Illiana Christian High School from September 1946 through December 1947. The South Suburban Council of Girl Scouts began using the facilities as a camp beginning in 1951. The last portions of the camp were demolished in 1989. Foundations can still be seen south of this marker.
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