Civilian Conservation Corps

During the Great Depression the U.S. Government established more than 140 CCC camps in New Mexico. Vehicles used by CCC enrollees were federally owned and were issued special CCC license plates. These plates bore a designation indicating the branch of the government which provided the vehicles, and/or what projects were being worked on. Because most of the work done by the CCC involved projects in national parks, national monuments and national forests, most CCC license plates had designations for the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture. A few projects done in support of the U.S. military used vehicles whose plates were designated “War Department,” the agency now known as the Department of Defense.

CCC tags are large, heavy, thick steel plates measuring 6¾" x 13½", each weighing a full pound.  The vast majority (but not all) CCC plates were undated, but their period of use was from 1933 to 1942. At least some were issued as pairs, but it is not known if all were, as there also exists an even larger (8" x 14") and very common generic “front” plate which has only the CCC emblem and the inscription “This Driver is Required to Drive Carefully.”

For a complete list of New Mexico CCC camps, their locations and dates of establishment, see http://www.ccclegacy.org/CCC_Camps_New_Mexico.html

See also U.S. Government and Boat for other types of license plates issued by the federal government within New Mexico.

  Dated Front Plate   Undated Front Plate  
Photo credits:  Undated Front Plate courtesy Phil Hill.  All others by Bill Johnston.
CCC Camp BR-58 Carlsbad Project, New Mexico.  Enrollees applying concrete lining on a canal under the auspices of the Bureau of Reclamation.  National Archives photo, ca. 1940.  The truck has a CCC Department of the Interior license plate.
This photograph, widely-published under the caption “Motorist asking directions from State Trooper along Route 66, New Mexico (1939),” is a classic example of incompetent research and record keeping.  The man at the right in the ill-fitting uniform and filthy shoes is not a “State Trooper” at all, but a gas station attendant—most likely from the Phillips 66 service station just to the left of the car.  To see what a real New Mexico State Policeman looked like at the time, click here.  Incompetence aside, the photo does show at least one interesting feature, a CCC Department of the Interior license plate on the car.