Thanksgiving Day at Baxter Camp, CCC
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Thanksgiving dinner (1933) for the men of Baxter Camp, No. 2103 sounds great! These hard-working men who had been building roads and camps surely enjoyed it. This group of men, members of the 193rd Company of the Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.), had the task of constructing a road from Millinocket to Big Windy Pitch in Baxter State Park, about twenty-five miles away. The same crew also cleared brush and built bridges on the Appalachian Trail, cleared a right of way for a telephone line, built a fire tower and a wharf on Ambejejus Lake.
The Thanksgiving Day menu featured Roast Vermont turkey with giblet gravy and sage dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, boiled onions and Hubbard squash. This was accompanied by sweet pickles, Boston celery, green relish, hot rolls and creamery butter. Dessert consisted of pumpkin pie with American cheese plus grapes, apples sweet cider and coffee.
This is from a small printed menu/program that appears to have been given to each of the men present. In addition to the menu, it lists the roster of the 193rd and all the members of the C.C.C. A number of these men who were from other areas of Maine later decided to make Millinocket their home and still have descendants here. The program has encouraging words from the group’s leaders and also from Percival Baxter. There are 172 names of the C.C.C. men included plus names of the Army personnel, forestry personnel, leaders and assistant leaders.
A book on the history of the C.C.C. in Maine states the main goal of the 193rd was to build a road from town to the base of Mt. Katahdin. They took a group of “undisciplined and untrained kids” and “trained them to use a pick and shovel, to drive heavy road equipment, to blast the rugged terrain with dynamite, swamp and cut heavy timbers for bridges, all hewn with an axe, the adz and the crosscut saws.” Their campsite was at Togue Pond. The 193rd was at this location from June 1933 through October of 1935.