Athol widow donates rare group photo of Warwick Civilian Conservation Corps

  • Florence R. (Boutelle) Copeland, right, and Ron Ferguson, her friend and caretaker, left, stand in front of Warwick Town Hall, displaying the group photo of the Warwick Civilian Conservation Corps workers that Copeland recently donated to the town. Contributed Photo/David Young

  • A group photo of Warwick Civilian Conservation Corps workers was recently donated to the town by Florence R. (Boutelle) Copeland. It is hoped the public might recognize some of the workers who have not been identified. Contributed Photo/David Young

For the Recorder
Published: 5/16/2022 4:49:11 PM
Modified: 5/16/2022 4:47:24 PM

A recent donation of a large group photo of Warwick Civilian Conservation Corps workers has helped to preserve the memory of the CCC in that town.

The CCC was a New Deal work program that ran from 1933 to 1942, employing men for conservation and natural resource projects in the rural parts of the country. While several members in the group photo have been identified, it is hoped that the public might recognize some of those who are yet to be named.

The photo, which is 2 feet long and 6 inches high, was donated to the town by Florence R. (Boutelle) Copeland, according to Warwick Town Coordinator David Young, who accepted the donation.

“We are very grateful for her effort to preserve the photo,” Young said.

Copeland, an Athol resident, said her late husband, Thomas, was only 17 years old when he became a member of the CCC. Copeland identified one of the figures in the photo on the right side, dressed in white, as her late husband.

“He had never mentioned that he had worked for the CCC. … I was able to pick him right out and there are a few other people who were listed on the photo,” she said. The photo also depicts some of the CCC buildings that were at the campsite at that time.

After leaving the CCC, Thomas served in World War II. Copeland continued, saying her husband was born in Rindge, New Hampshire, but was raised in Warwick on White Road.

“That’s where the camp was,” she said.

Copeland found the photo recently in a file in the basement, adding that she donated the photo as she wanted to be sure it was preserved. She and her husband were married for 71 years.

Young said that the CCC camp where the photo was taken was located at what is today known as Bass Road.

“In those days, I think it was on Flag Road near the intersection of White Road,” he recounted.

There was another camp on Richmond Road, which eventually became the Warwick Prison Camp, closing in the early 1990s. Among the projects completed in town by the CCC workers, Young said, were the replanting of trees, trail work and laying up stone for retaining walls.

Young said it is hoped the photo will become part of the Warwick Historical Society’s collection. If someone recognizes a person in the photo, they can email Young at coordinator@town.warwick.ma.us.

Carla Charter is a freelance writer from Phillipston. Her writing focuses on history with a particular interest in the history of the North Quabbin area. Contact her at cjfreelancewriter@earthlink.net.


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