The Great Depression is something Lois Moore knows all about. Born in the spring of 1929, she lived through the hardest years of the Depression, and remembers much about the struggles her own family faced. There were no jobs, and she remembers people being hungry, and strangers knocking on her door in Elizabeth City, NC asking for food. Her clothes were made of chicken feed sacks and they raised their own chickens and garden for food. Despite their own needs, no stranger was ever turned away.
These days, she is re-living the Depression through her job as museum curator at the Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County. The museum is a wonderful collection of historic photographs, artifacts and personal mementos displayed in an original CCC building within the park. It celebrates the achievements of the dedicated members of the CCC who contributed so much to the Commonwealth of Virginia after the war.
By March of 1933, nearly 14 million people were unemployed in the United States. Many of these were World War Veterans. Through President Roosevelt’s creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps the CCC employed more than three million men and built more than 40,000 bridges, planted 2 billion trees, restored nearly 4,000 historic sites and improved thousands of beaches, roads and shorelines. Thankfully, they also created 800 state parks, including six in Virginia. They also helped develop what would become Pocahontas State Park.
Lois gets excited when she talks about the CCC years at Pocahontas. Two of the original dams and many of the original CCC buildings at Pocahontas are still in use. And because Veterans made up part of the CCC at Pocahontas, she will help Pocahontas celebrate the Veterans Day Weekend by having the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum open to the public from Thursday, November 11 to Sunday, November 14. Hours will be 10am to 6pm each day. Parking fees are waived to the public on Veterans Day, November 11 and the Museum is always free.
At 81 years old, Lois should probably be retired. But the gleam in her eyes when she talks about the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps and their work in Virginia explains her longevity. “I want people to know what life was like back then, and I want the CCC to be recognized for the wonderful work they did both in Virginia and throughout the country.”
For additional information about the museum or about Pocahontas State Park, click here.