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Every Day Above and Beyond: Bruce Landis

July 3, 2017

Imagine a large collection of structures built as temporary quarters for the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. They were “temporary” because the aim of the program was to give employment and job skills to young men left without much hope (or employment) in the throes of the Great Depression – but everyone understood that eventually the world would pull out of the global economic crisis and “things would be back to normal” so the buildings wouldn’t be necessary. And so for years they were largely ignored. Now, however, people are beginning to understand and appreciate what a marvel the CCC was and how large its impact was here in Pennsylvania. And so these “temporary” buildings, it seems, should be saved. But in what form? Wouldn’t it be great to restore some of them with the same skill and care with which they were created? Enter Chip Landis, Laurel Hill State Park maintenance guy and, let’s face it, artist. Just wait until you visit the restored rec hall in what the park hopes will be a new CCC education area and see its meticulously crafted doors, period-seeming light fixtures, and breath-taking counters (made out of one continuous slab of pine). True. The grant money (obtained through PPFF) could simply have been used to stabilize the building. Make it utilitarian. Or it could become a showpiece. Thanks to Chip and his crew, it’s the latter.

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