WPA Today   
New Deal Standing 1

 
Cabin 33 at Camp Misty Mount, in Catoctin Mountain Park, Frederick County.  Built by the WPA in the 1930s.  Photo provided courtesy of the National Park Service.

New Deal Standing 1
(See Photos Below!)

      Many of the photos on my "New Deal Standing" pages can be found elsewhere on this website.  However, I wanted to make a few pages dedicated solely to still-existing projects in Maryland; a sort of photographic inventory.  Most of the photos are of WPA and CCC projects, but I will also be including some projects from the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Civil Works Administration (CWA).  Recall that the CWA (1933-34) was the short-lived precursor to the WPA.  And recall that the PWA (1933-1943) was focused more on very large construction projects (e.g., the Hoover Dam), and not primarily focused on giving the unemployed jobs.  However, PWA projects often spurred the hiring of the unemployed anyway, due to the scale of the construction projects.

      Much of the work of the WPA and CCC--even if still-existing--is not visible and/or discernible.  For example, trees planted by the CCC are not marked "CCC," and sewer systems installed by the WPA are underground.  Hence, this photographic inventory certainly does not tell the whole story of what still exists around us from the New Deal era.

      As you're probably well aware, the New Deal and its jobs programs were maligned by many.  The programs were called "wasteful spending," the projects were called "boondoggles," and the men and women were called "shovel-leaners."  Much like today, some felt the need to blame (and insult) the unemployed.  So, as you're looking at the photos below, and the photos throughout this website, consider the words of Harry Hopkins, the first and most well-remembered head of the WPA:

"The things they have actually accomplished all over America should be an inspiration to every reasonable person and an everlasting answer to all the grievous insults that have been heaped on the heads of the unemployed."  (Quoted in the book American-Made by Nick Taylor {p. 235, 2009 paperback edition} citing the New Orleans newspapers Times-Picayune and Item-Tribune, November 29, 1936).

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Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted, all photos were taken by Brent McKee.  Click here for more information on photo credits, permission to use, and exhibit descriptions
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 You can scroll through all the photos below, or jump to the one you want to see:

1.
RITCHIE HIGHWAY, Anne Arundel County
2. TEA ROOM, Gambrill State Park, Frederick County
3. MERRIAM LABORATORY, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George's County
4. OCEAN CITY INLET, Worcester County
5. COMMUNITY BUILDING, Williamsport, Washington County
6. GREAT MILLS SCHOOL, Lexington Park, St. Mary's County
7. BALTIMORE NATIONAL CEMETERY FLAGPOLE, Baltimore City & Baltimore County
8. CCC MUSEUM, Fort Frederick State Park, Washington County
9. MARDELA SPRINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT BUILDING, Wicomico County
10. THE KENNARD SCHOOL, Centreville, Queen Anne's County
11. CONSTITUTION PARK POOL AND BATH HOUSE, Cumberland, Allegany County
12. PICNIC SHELTER, Cunningham Falls State Park, Frederick County
13. JOHNSON'S POND DAM, Salisbury, Wicomico County
14. HALL OF RECORDS, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
15. CABIN 33, Camp Misty Mount, Catoctin Mountain Park, Frederick County

         
 1. RITCHIE HIGHWAY , Anne Arundel County

Above: According to a 1998 Historic Sites Inventory Form prepared for the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT), Ritchie Highway was built from 1934 to 1939 and "is significant as Maryland's first dual highway and the first state road built with the mandate to preserve natural and scenic beauty."  The MHT report also points out that "Most of the funding was provided by the federal Public Works Administration."  The photograph above shows the section of Ritchie Highway between the Severn River and the World War II Memorial.  This section retains the scenic "spirit" of Ritchie Highway's original intent, while most (or all) other sections have been overtaken by heavy commercial and residential development.  In the June 10, 1940 edition of the Baltimore Sun, it was reported that the WPA would beautify Ritchie Highway "from the city line at Brooklyn to the Severn River bridge at the gateway to Annapolis."  This beautification included "laying 348,480 square feet of sod and the planting of 1,000 dogwood trees, 100 large and 2,000 small pines, 150 red buds, 16,000 coralberry plants and 250,000 honeysuckle plants" ("Rush Landscaping on Two Highways," p. 17).  Photo taken in 2011.

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 2. TEA ROOM, Gambrill State Park, Frederick County

Above: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reports that the Tea Room at Gambrill State Park (Frederick County) "is a native stone building, built by the CCC in the 1930s...Today, the building remains a popular location for weddings, family reunions, business meetings, and other special events" (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/gambrill.asp).  Photo taken in 2011.

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 3. MERRIAM LABORATORY, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George's County

Above: The Merriam Laboratory building at Patuxent Research Refuge, near Bowie, Prince George's County.  This building was built with WPA labor from 1939-1940.  The WPA did extensive work at Patuxent Research Refuge.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: "Early History of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center," by Dr. Leland B. Morley, 1948)

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 4. OCEAN CITY INLET, Worcester County

Above: The Ocean City Inlet, connecting the Atlantic Ocean to Sinepuxent Bay, was built with WPA labor.  The inlet was roughly created by storm damage, and then widened, dredged, and fortified with the assistance of the WPA.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: "Final Seaport Work To Begin At Ocean City," Baltimore Sun, May 24, 1936, p. 3)

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 5. COMMUNITY BUILDING, Williamsport, Washington County

Above: Community building in Williamsport (Washington County), built with WPA labor in 1938.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives)

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 6. GREAT MILLS SCHOOL, Lexington Park, St. Mary's County

Above: This building is home to "Fairlead Academy" in St. Mary's County, a school that helps students prepare for high school.  It was originally called "Great Mills Elementary School," and was built with WPA labor in 1936. Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives, and (2) the Maryland Historical Trust)

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 7. BALTIMORE NATIONAL CEMETERY FLAGPOLE, Baltimore City & Baltimore County

Above: Flagpole at Baltimore National Cemetery, erected by the WPA in 1937.  The WPA developed much of the cemetery.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives, and (2) Baltimore National Cemetery maintenance records)

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 8. CCC MUSEUM, Fort Frederick State Park, Washington County

Above: This building--at Fort Frederick State Park in Washington County--was built by the CCC, and now serves as a small CCC museum.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: Maryland Historical Trust)

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 9. MARDELA SPRINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT BUILDING, Wicomico County

Above: This building in Mardela Springs, Wicomico County, was built with WPA labor circa 1935-36.  It was originally described as a recreational building.  Today, it serves the town's fire department.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives)

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 10. THE KENNARD SCHOOL, Centreville, Queen Anne's County

Above: This school building in Centreville, Queen Anne's County, was built with WPA labor circa 1936-1937.  Called the "Kennard School," it was built as an African American school and named after Lucretia Kennard, an educator who lived and taught on the eastern shore of Maryland in the early part of the twentieth century.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives, and (2) the Kennard Alumni Association)

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 11. CONSTITUTION PARK POOL AND BATH HOUSE, Cumberland, Allegany County

Above: The pool and bathhouse at Constitution Park in Cumberland, built with WPA labor in 1938.  The WPA also developed many other parts of Constitution Park.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives)

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 12. PICNIC SHELTER, Cunningham Falls State Park, Frederick County

Above: This picnic shelter was built by the CCC, and can seat up to 150 people.  It is located in the "manor area" of Cunningham Falls State Park, in Frederick County.  In the background of this photograph is Maryland Route 15, built "many years" after the construction of this shelter.  Unfortunately, the road noise is quite loud.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: Maryland Department of Natural Resources)

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 13. JOHNSON'S POND DAM, Salisbury, Wicomico County

Above: Johnson's Pond Dam, built with WPA labor in 1936.  Today, people can enjoy the pond/lake with kayaks and powerboats, and anglers can catch bass, bluegill, perch, catfish, and more.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) The WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives, and (2) the Maryland Department of Natural Resources)

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 14. HALL OF RECORDS, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County

Above: This is the Greenfield Library, on the campus of St. John's College in Annapolis.  It was built with the assistance of funds from the Public Works Administration in 1934, and served as the Maryland State Archives until 1984.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) Maryland, A Middle Temperament: 1634-1980 by Robert J. Brugger, and (2) the Maryland State Archives)

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 15. CABIN 33, Camp Misty Mount, Catoctin Mountain Park, Frederick County

Above: This is Cabin #33 at Camp Misty Mount in Catoctin Mountain Park, built with WPA labor in the 1930s.  The WPA and CCC did extensive work at Catoctin Mountain Park, including the development of the presidential retreat "Camp David" (originally called "Hi-Catoctin," and then "Shangri La," before being given its present name by President Eisenhower).  WPA-built cabins can still be rented and enjoyed today.  Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.  (Source of information: National Park Service)

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