Former CCC member reminisces about historic log cabin

Former Civilian Conservation Corps member Richard Chrisinger flips through a scrapbook he made of articles about cabins the CCC built in Bremerton more than 70 years ago. - Photo by Valentina Petrova
Former Civilian Conservation Corps member Richard Chrisinger flips through a scrapbook he made of articles about cabins the CCC built in Bremerton more than 70 years ago.
— image credit: Photo by Valentina Petrova

Every spring for the past 26 years, Richard Chrisinger has made the trip from his home in Springfield, Mo. to Bremerton for the Armed Forces Day Parade. This May was no exception, but for the first time the 84-year-old Chrisinger had a travel companion, his daughter Naomi Shaw.

Chrisinger was diagnosed with cancer in March and recovered from the chemotherapy quickly enough to start his annual cross-country road-trip on May 11. Shaw saw her father march in the parade for the first time and she learned more about his link to Bremerton when they stopped by the historic log cabin behind the Presidents’ Hall at the Fairgrounds.

An advisory member of the Log Cabin Project Committee, Chrisinger collected information for an update article in the national Civilian Conservation Corps newspaper. The publication ran a story two years ago on the cabin which was built by the CCC in the 1930s.

“We’re super fortunate to have him on our committee because he’s been a wealth of knowledge on these cabins,” said Ken Kramer, Log Cabin Project director.

Though Chrisinger was not on the crews that built the log cabins at the former Naval Ammunition Depot, now NAD Park near Kitsap Golf & Country Club, he did launch a restoration project for them in the late 1980s as a CCC alumnus.

Chrisinger joined the CCC in October 1937, even though he was three years shy of the 18-year age requirement. For his first six-month enrollment, he was stationed in Wisconsin and assisted in making state parks, building roads for fire protection, and spent time counting deer in the woods.

In 1939, Chrisinger signed up again for a second term with the CCC as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator in Oregon and later Vancouver, Wash.

His father had moved to Bremerton some years earlier and in December 1941 Chrisinger began a job at the shipyard, working on three battleships damaged in the attack at Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, he was sent out into World War II and served through that war, the Korean and Vietnam wars, in the Air Force repairing airplanes.

Chrisinger returned to Bremerton in 1982 when his father died and that’s when he learned about the CCC log cabins in the area.

In 1987-88, he started a chapter of the National Association for CCC Alumni in Bremerton and involved local Boy Scouts into a restoration project for the buildings.

He’s been involved with the cabins ever since.

“We put him to work once in a while (when he’s in town),” Kramer said.

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