From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp 510 at Mammoth Cave, KY

The CCC camps were based at Mammoth Cave for the workers who were to transform the area into a national park, as Congress designated in 1926. One camp was specifically for African Americans. The Mammoth Cave location was thought to be ideal because of the large, readily-available labor force; the cave's remote location would allow for an African American camp because it was away from white communities.

All of the CCC men were inducted at Fort Knox and received haircuts, uniforms, immunizations, discipline, assignments of hard work, and isolation. African American artist and enrollee D. W. Higgenbotham became ill and died at the site, and there were rumors that the campsite was haunted.

Problems between the races resulted in the white enrollees being moved to a new location while the African Americans remained at Camp 510, which became known for a while as the "graveyard."

For more see J. C. Schmitzer's thesis, The black experience at Mammoth Cave, Edmonson County, Kentucky, 1838-1942; and "CCC Camp 510: Black Participation in the Creation of Mammoth Cave National Park," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, 1995, vol. 93, issue 4, pp. 446-464.

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“Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp 510 at Mammoth Cave, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-11 17:05:32