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category: Camp-News, date: 2016-09-28, by Tony Smolik
The Bad Hash
By Tony Smolik of Company 2755
Tents at Camp LodgeTents at Camp Lodge photo courtesy Fritz Heggem

On July 27, 1934 over 100 of us left Rapid City for Camp Pine Creek. We were there for a bout 10 days for shots, clothes, etc. We then picked up 80 more men and left for a new camp called Camp Lodge. It was one of two camps located in Custer State Park. When we got to camp there were only a few tents. We spent the fall and winter putting in water lines, sewer lines, and making roads.

Our main project was building Center Lake. We cleared all the trees and pulled out the stumps. It was while pulling out the stumps that a very unusual incident happened. We were pulling out a stump with a "Cat" when we hit an underground spring. The "Cat" sank until all you could see was a little of the front top. They tried pulling it out with another "Cat" and truck but couldn't, so we got about 250 feet of rope and cut it in 40-foot lengths. We then got all the men in camp to help. We all took hold of the rope and when a foreman said "pull", we pulled. It didn't seem long before we had it out.

The most amusing thing that I can remember was 2 to 3 weeks after we were in camp and before we had toilets or running water. We dug a straddle ditch over a block from camp and across a creek. We put in a temporary bridge across the creek made from logs and rough planks. I guess some of the meat had started to turn and the cook made hash out of it. Around 11:00 that night everyone got sick and had to use the straddle trench. You only had time to put on your shoes and run. The bridge was only wide enough for one-way traffic so the men returning to the barracks had to give the right-of-way to those headed toward the straddle trench.

I got a job and was discharged on March 17, 1936.x

xDerschied, Lyle A. "The Civilian Conservation Corps in South Dakota, 1933-1942." Brookings, SD, South Dakota State University Foundation Press, 1986. No longer in print. Available at some libraries but may not be checked-out.

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