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Camp Rabideau: CCC camp gets old papers

Daryle Rice was the illustrator for the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Rabideau newspaper, copies of which are being looked at by Forest Service archivist Mary Nipp, left, and Carol Rice, who donated a collection of the papers for the restored CCC camp to display. Blackduck American/Jack Swenson

A chance meeting at a Twin Cities estate sale has led to the donation of a collection of early camp papers published at Camp Rabideau, the Civilian Conservation Corps camp southeast of Blackduck.

The papers were presented by Carol Rice, whose father, Daryle, was one of the young men stationed at the camp and was also the artist whose drawings appeared each week on the paper's mimeographed front page.

Rice and Helen Heiland, who grew up in Hines, found they had a mutual interest in Blackduck and in Rice's desire to find a home for the papers.

Daryle Rice was also one of six brothers who went into the CCCs with his other brothers going to camps around the area. Following the start of World War II, the brothers also went into service at about the same time, Daryle into the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) and brothers Kenneth, Clark, Melvin, Orville and Duane into the Navy. The family lived in Hill City.

In the CCC camp, Daryle also learned how to plant trees, a lesson he remembered in later years.

He became a custodian and worked at Lincoln High School in Bloomington. He and his brothers acquired property adjacent to the school grounds, and just as they had years before in camp at Rabideau, they planted trees over the entire acreage.

The papers Carol Rice presented were handed to Mary Nipp, whose Forest Service employment has included now being responsible for archiving material like the Rice papers.

Together with news of camp activities, each issue also includes ads for existing Blackduck businesses at that time, among them are the City Drug, Wolden's Service, the Hartz Store, Gamble's and Rolfe's Confectionery.

Rice also brought to the camp a tool chest her father had built while stationed there. The chest was reinforced with quarter-inch steel angle bars, heavy enough when empty to encourage a second person to lift it.