Friday, April 13, 2012

Civilian Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War Recreational Hall

The Civilian Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War Recreational Hall, Eldora, Iowa,  built in November, 1933 circa,  was used by Companies 1755 Camp Flying Goose (November, 1933-July, 1935) and Company 1752 The Erosioners (July, 1935-1942).  In the fall of 1943, it is recorded that Italian Prisoners of War from Missouri came up and lived in the old CCC campsite to help harvest hemp from the fields for two of Iowa's hemp mills, Iowa Falls and Grundy Center.  When the harvest was completed and the camp made ready for the German Prisoners they returned to Missouri.   In mid-1944, German Prisoners of War came from the Algona PW Camp to work in the Marshall Canning Factories in the surrounding communities of Ackley, Hampton, Reinbeck, and Marshalltown.  They also helped local farmers in several communities on their farms and with harvest.  German prisoners of war remained in the Eldora campsite until the war was over in 1946.

The CCC/POW Recreational Hall is the last original building of the campsite.  It remains in the same location north of the Eldora Cemetery in Eldora, Iowa.  The Recreational Hall is currently a "T" shaped building with a beautiful sandstone fireplace on the north side of the building.  It may be viewed from 11th Avenue of the Hardin County Fairgrounds.  Renovations started in 2009 and continue.  Watch for future postings and more information about the CCC, POWs, Pine Lake, and the military museum that is currently underway.


Youth to Restore the CCC/POW Building was created when a 4-H'er* decided to renovate the "old green building" located on the Hardin County Fairgrounds, in Eldora, Iowa, in 2008.  That 4-H'er, discovered the "old green building" was built in November, 1933 circa,  for the Emergency Conservation Corps (later called CCC) as a Recreational Hall.  It was used as a Recreational Hall for the CCC men for nine years.  Later it would be used as a Recreational Hall for Prisoners of War during World War II (details later).

Youth to Restore the CCC/POW Building (YRCPB) was developed when the 4-H'er needed to raise funds and applied  to Hardin County Community Endowment Foundation  (HCCEF) for money for the renovations in 2009.   YRCPB continues to raise funds, recruit youth in the restoration, and promote the "Hidden Treasure in Iowa" through presentations to local community groups and schools.

With the help of grants, support of people in the community, community groups, funds have been raised and the following has been achieved:

  • 2009 - New foundation; recreational equipment added for youth (carpet-ball, foosball, and legos) ; beginnings of a museum, open for the Hardin County Fair and the Pine Lake Festival in July, 2009.  August, 2009 Eldora suffered a severe hailstorm that broke 12 of the 22 windows and damaged the roof.  Educational presentations given that fall and winter in seven different school districts. 
  • 2010 - Eligible for Historic Register with the State of Iowa; attended Historical Preservation Conference; 8 windows historically refurbished; open for the 2010 Hardin County Fair; Phase I of a museum established; beautiful sandstone fireplace refurbished inside and out; building reshingled.
  • 2011 -  Application submitted to the State Review Nominating Committee for recommendation to be listed on the National Historic Register;  6 windows historically refurbished; Phase II of the museum included adding pictures and displays of the CCC campsite in the 1930's, Pine Lake State Park's history, and a military museum with displays; open for the 2011 Hardin County Fair and later for the Pine Lake Festival.  Fall of 2011, windows historically remounted in the east/west section of the building.
  • 2012 -  Tiling completed.  Preparing for Memorial Weekend opening with a military display; Hardin County Fair July 11-15, 2012 and later the Pine Lake Festival.  
Much work and support is still needed.  YRCPB wishes to thank ALL who have assisted in this project so far.  

May you enjoy and boast about your HIDDEN TREASURE! 

Note:  *4-H'er qualified as a finalist for the Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student in 2009.  Check out some other outstanding youth in the State of Iowa.    

New Providence Presentation

On May 15, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. I will speaking at the New Providence Friends Church in New Providence, Iowa, regarding the history and progress of  the Civilian Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War Recreational Hall.

We Made It!

In January, 2010 Youth to Restore the CCC/POW Building (YRCPB) of Eldora, Iowa, began their journey of getting the Civilian Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War Recreational Hall on the National Historic Register.  In a month's time YRCPB found out that the building was eligible.   With good counsel  from the State Historical Staff in Des Moines, Iowa, and by attending one of their historic conferences in Clinton, Iowa, we began our journey of applying for the National Historic Register.

In the spring of 2011, we were notified that we would meet the State Nominating Review Committee (SNRC) of the State Historical Society in June, 2011.

We are pleased to announce that the Civilian Conservation Corps/Prisoner of War Recreational Hall, in Eldora, Iowa MADE IT onto the National Historic Register January, 2012!