Life at Camp Mercer

  • Camp Mercer men holding the fire line. Fire suppression was arguably the toughest work detail in the CCC. 
  • Loading CCC enrollees into trucks to work on state forest projects 
  • Securing the flag
  • Washing clothes
  • Field work on wildlife habitat
  • Flag retreat
  • Habitat improvement for fish and game were signature CCC projects.
  • Kitchen patrol or KP under head cook Watson

Dirty and sunburnt, enrollees rest after setting telephone poles. Their toil improved communications with fire towers. 

Life at the camp was all military, too, with bugle call at 6 a.m., breakfast at 7 a.m., work call off the roster (done by the bugler and work leader) 7:45 a.m. loading of workers-transportation and begin work at 8 a.m. Lunch was supplied in shoe boxes or brown bags marked with the name of each worker and eaten in the field. Work details ended at 4:30 p.m., if you didn't end up on K.P. for some disciplinary action. Flag retreat and inspection was at 5:45 p.m., supper call by buge at 6 p.m., and free time was available to most enrollees between 6 and 9:30 p.m. Since work was often hard and under unpleasant work conditions, lights out was usually ordered sometime between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. This was the daily schedule, 5 days a week. Each Saturday was scrub day when the barracks were torn apart and put back together again. "The scrub day duties included moving the bunks and personal items all to one side of the building, with crews scrubbing down the floor, wall and around the stoves," remembers W. Hirte. "We then moved all this material to the other side to do the other half before placing all our bunks and supplies back in an orderly fashion." The inspections were rigorous but pride and competition was instilled in the barracks which helped with morale.

Town & Country Newspaper

Waupaca, Wisconsin 1983