WPA Today   

Fort Hill High School

WPA Poster

Fort Hill High School, Cumberland
(See Photos Below!)
Maryland WPA Project #'s 265 & 3005

     Fort Hill High School was built with the assistance of funds from the Public Works Administration, 1935-37.  Like many of the Public Works Administration funded projects, Fort Hill is a very large building/complex.  And, while the Public Works Administration was busy funding the construction of the school building, the WPA was busy developing the areas around the school, as you will see in the set of photographs below.  For example, the WPA was instrumental in constructing the Fort Hill High School football stadium--home of the Sentinels.

     As the high school's website points out, Fort Hill stands in defiance to those who maligned the federal projects of the 1930s (see http://www.forthillhs.com/Information/infobio.html).  Indeed, the school is a great success story from the Great Depression.  The jobless received jobs, local businesses received contracts, the city received a school, students received an education, and Cumberland has benefited ever since.  This is what government-funded public works projects, during contractions in the business cycle, are all about. 


Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted, all black and white photos were taken by the WPA, are in the public domain, and provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.  All color photos--unless otherwise noted--were taken by Brent McKee.  Click here for more information on photo credits, permission to use, and exhibit descriptions

Above: WPA workmen grading the areas in and around the future football stadium, December 1935.

Above: The WPA grades an area for tennis courts, January 1937)

Above: The tennis courts today.  (Photographed in December 2011)

Above: The description card for this photo reads, "Parking space graded, rear Johnson's Heights School."  During the early construction of Fort Hill High School, the name of the school had not been firmly set.  (Photo taken in March 1936)

Above: The WPA made the driveway, curb, and sidewalk in front of the school.  (Photo take in October 1937)

Above: The front of Fort Hill High School today, taken from the opposite angle of the previous photo.  (Photographed in December 2011) 

Above: The WPA constructing the bleachers for the Fort Hill football stadium, May 1936.

Above: The bleachers nearing completion in August of 1936.

Above: This picture, taken in April of 1937, shows the completed football field.  A running track is now being constructed around the field.

Above: Another view of the running track construction, April 1937.

Above: Construction of the running track continues, May 1937.

The description card for this photo reads, "Looking south view of entire plant, playing field, running track, floodlight system, section of concrete bleachers and temporary bleachers constructed and piers for future bleachers."  (Photo taken October 1937)

Above: Another view of the completed (or nearly completed) stadium, October 1937.

Above: The description card for this photo reads, "View of concrete grandstand.  Over 5,000 attended football game between Fort Hill and Allegany High Schools, Thanksgiving Day."  (November 25, 1937)

Above: Another WPA photograph from the 1937 Thanksgiving Day football game between Fort Hill and Allegany High Schools. 

Above: The high school and football stadium today.  The football stadium has been modernized since the WPA days.  (Photographed in December 2011)
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