Take a step into the past at historic Camp Rabideau. The camp is located 6 miles south of Blackduck, Minnesota on County Road 39. In the 1930's there were 2,650 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). camps in America. Camp Rabideau is one of three remaining camps being preserved and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the CGG in 1933 to revitalize the economy and end the depression. The program provided jobs and training for over 275,000 men. Roosevelt's "Tree Army" worked on projects such as building fire towers, bridges, roads and trails; fire fighting; firebreaks; tree planting; camp and picnic ground development; mosquito control; and roadside beautification. Work projects varied with each camp location and its needs.
Camp Rabideau's first enrollees, Company 3749 from Bennett Springs, Missouri, built and occupied the camp from August 1935 to January: 4, 1936. The crew was relocated in California and Minnesota Company 708 was removed from Bena to Camp Rabideau by truck in 45 degrees below zero weather.
Company 708 remained at Rabideau until the end of the program in 1941. Work projects ranged from building the Blackduck Ranger Station and two fire towers to doing deer census and searching for lost persons during the berry picking and deer hunting seasons.
In 1945, the camp was-leased to the University of Illinois for use by their engineering and forestry students. Under the terms of the lease, the students added sewer and sanitation lines, installed a water pressure system, rewired the buildings, installed ceiling supports and replaced the wood stoves with oil. After 27 years their lease ended in 1973.
The Camp Today
Camp Rabideau is located on a 112-acre tract purchased in 1934. The buildings are set about 100 feet apart, surrounded by tall trees forming a large glade in the center. The open area was once the location of the mess hall, which burned down in the 1930's.
Benjamin and Carls Lakes are visible from the barracks. An open-air picnic shelter is located at the camp. The shelter was built by the CCG and moved from the Cut Foot Sioux area to Camp Rabideau in 1986. Today, 15 of the original 25 buildings remain and four will be maintained to honor those who served as CCC corpsmen.
A one-mile trail runs through Camp Rabideau. Interpretive displays highlight the buildings and history of the area. For those wishing to camp, Webster Lake Campground is located four miles southeast of Camp Rabideau off forest Roads 2207 and 2236. The campground offers 22 campsites, a boat ramp, a 6 mile hiking trail, 2 picnic areas and a barrier free campsite.