Thursday, January 01, 2009

National Youth Administration Resident Training Project (Melbourne)

Within the city limits of Melbourne lies the remains of the National Youth Administration Resident Training Project facility utilized to build the existing Izard County Courthouse that stands today. I read that the cost of the "new" courthouse to the county was about $150,000 but it is said that the Federal Government spent over a $1,000,000 on both the N.Y.A. facility and the construction.
The Resident Training Project facility was the largest N.Y.A. project at the time and the approximately 150 young men who trained and worked here during the 1930s are responsible for building both it and the courthouse.

Karr Shannon says in his 1947 published A History of Izard County:

"A camp a mile north of town covered several acres and had a dozen or more
buildings most of which were stone veneer. About 150 boys were kept at the camp
and trained in carpentry, masonry, and other manual trades, each being worked a
certain number of hours weekly on the courthouse building. It was a very
expansive and expensive project in which the U.S. Government probably
invested a million dollars or more. A few months after the courthouse was
completed, the camp was abandoned and about the only signs left are the concrete
foundations and stone walls of the buildings. The land was leased to the N.Y.A.
by the late John C. Ashley."

As you can see from the photos, the site remains in much the same condition as Mr. Shannon decribed it in 1947! We were informed that when the camp was abandoned, everything was torn down but the stoneworks, a large hole was dug, and everything was buried.

You can find some small thumbnails of the site when it was in use here (don't bother registering with the hope of seeing the larger'll be disappointed).  You will need to use the basic search tool and enter "Resident Training Project". I will include a couple of shots I borrowed from the Melbourne Museum once I've had the chance to go there to get them again in the next few days. If you'd like to learn a little about the nation's N.Y.A. Resident Training Project which was a product of the Great Depression, here's a book to browse.
We have been told that the limestone used in the construction of the courthouse came from a small quarry south of town off of Tate Road. If we can confirm this (it's questionable because the brick used in the construction of the previous courthouse was known to have been imported and hauled to Melbourne from "Wild Haws Landing" [Present-day Guion]), we'll have another site to visit soon!

UPDATE! Videos of the site can be viewed here!


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