Civilian Public Service Camp (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)

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Civilian Public Service (CPS) Camp No. 33, a Soil Conservation Service base camp located northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, and operated by Mennonite Central Committee, opened in June 1942 and closed in October 1946. The camp was located nine miles (14.5 km) north and two miles (3.2 km) west of Fort Collins in the valley of the Poudre River which provided irrigation water for area farms. The men also worked at Buckingham Side Camp some 75 miles (121 km) to the east in the present-day Pawnee National Grassland.

CPS Camp No. 33 accommodated 200 men. A total of 609 men worked in the camp during its years of operation. The majority of the men represented various Mennonite denominations.

One crew worked on the Greeley dam, which stored water for the town of Greeley 40 miles (64 km) away. Camp assignees also performed fire suppression duties, built roads, constructed irrigation ditches and outlet boxes, set tile drainage, surveyed and leveled land, and conducted soil analysis. Some men conducted crop experiments at the Colorado Experiment Station, while others performed emergency farm labor in the area's sugar beet, bean, hay, and grain fields. Participants in the camp worked in various soil conservation projects and built diversion ditches to lessen the effects of erosion.

Civilian Public Service camp #33, Buckingham side camp, ca. 1943.
Scan courtesy of Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College, North Newton, KS: #2003-0187

At the Buckingham Side Camp, assignees built fences, reseeded grass lands, drilled wells, and built stock tanks. Men from the camp designed and built a posthole digger.

Since camps often experienced difficulty finding enough dieticians and cooks to staff the kitchens, a traveling dietician started cooking schools as part of the formal education program. Fort Collins hosted two schools under the leadership of Christine Weaver. One man from Fort Collins trained as a craft leader in a three-week craft school led by David Kope at CPS Camp No. 18 in Denison, Iowa.

From July 1942 through December 1943, the men published Poudre Canon News. They also published The Rising Tide from January 1944 through June 1945. The Calendar ran from November 1945 through August 1946. In 1945 the men published Service for Peace, which included photos of camp scenes, project activities, and portraits of each assignee.

Camp staff:

Directors: John F. Schmidt, Emmanual Hertzler, Henry Reimer, Given Culley, Willard Gaeddert, Wesley Dick, Albert Buckwalter, Eldon King

Dietician: Mary Wollman, Ella Sanner, Helen Mishler, Myrtle Kolb, Louise Duerksen

Buckingham Side Camp: Lucille Schmidt, Mrs. Lloyd J. Rogers

Matron: Myrtle Schnell Hertzler, Mrs. John F. Schmidt

Buckingham Side Camp: Mrs. Ellis Swartzendruber, Myrtle Schnell Hertzler

Nurse: Lola Schertz

Nurse-Matron: Esther Zimmerly, Dora Woelk, Edna Peters, Josephine Naffziger, Anne Klassen, Mary Duerksen


"CPS Unit Number 033-01." The Civilian Public Service Story: Living Peace in a Time of War. Web. 27 January 2012.

Gingerich, Melvin. Service for Peace: a History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, Pa.: Mennonite Central Committee, 1949: 122.

Additional Information

Original Article from Mennonite Encyclopedia

Vol. 2, p. 356 by Melvin Gingerich

The Fort Collins  Civilian Public Service  Camp Number 33 was opened in June 1942 and closed in October 1946. A soil conservation service camp operated by the Mennonite Central Committee, it was located nine miles (16 km) north and two (3.3. km) west of Fort Collins. The work consisted of emergency farm labor, construction on the Greeley dam, forest fire suppression, building irrigation ditches and outlet boxes, tile drainage, surveying, land leveling, and soil analysis. Some of the men worked in the agronomy section of the Colorado Experiment Station and others were stationed at the Buckingham permanent side camp, about 70 miles east of Fort Collins. In 1946 a cooking school to train camp cooks was held at the Fort Collins camp. Its camp paper was known as the Poudre Canon News, later changed to Rising Tide. In 1945 the men of the camp published a 64-page yearbook entitled Service for Peace.

Author(s) Harlan D Unrau
Date Published February 2012

Cite This Article

MLA style

Unrau, Harlan D. "Civilian Public Service Camp (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2012. Web. 19 Aug 2022.,_Colorado,_USA)&oldid=162996.

APA style

Unrau, Harlan D. (February 2012). Civilian Public Service Camp (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 August 2022, from,_Colorado,_USA)&oldid=162996.

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