Depression-era ideas could serve country now | Letters
June 27, 2012 · 1:27 PM
Since I was born in 1924, I spent my “growing up years” during the 10 years of the Great Depression. During the Depression there were several so-called “stimulus projects” developed by the U.S. government. I would like to mention a few that seemed to have worked well. Variations of these may help our country today.
The Civilian Conservation Corps enlisted unemployed young people to work in national parks and forests building roads, bridges, trails, shelters and the like. Timberline Lodge in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains was one such project. The workers were given a small stipend but also learned skills that could be used after their stint in the CCC was finished.
The Works Project Administration also used unemployed persons to work on roads and streets in urban areas. However, the WPA did not seem as proficient as the CCC, for I can remember my dad saying that most of them learned how to lean on their shovels well.
Another program, under the umbrella of the WPA, engaged researcher and writers in each state to produce books about their states, similar to parts of today’s AAA Tour Books. These volumes were placed into each state’s libraries for all to use. Some libraries may still have copies in their stacks.
Likewise, artists and painters embellished local post offices with murals depicting their parts of the country. This made going to the post office doubling rewarding to its citizens, as well as providing income through artistic endeavors.
Many people survived and were rewarded financially by these and other programs. World War II and our entrance into it in 1941 made these programs almost unnecessary and they came to an end.
The Great Depression was a long 10 years for most Americans, who barely survived the hardships of that era. However, the above described U.S. government programs helped them provide for their families. I suggest that the current administration consider creating programs today to employ not only many young persons but also older unemployed citizens as well.