WPA Today   

New Deal Standing 3



The Hagerstown City Hall, built with funding from the Public Works Administration, 1939-40.

New Deal Standing 3
(See Photos Below!)

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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 photo you want to see:

(For photos 1-15 see
New Deal Standing 1, and for photos 15-30 see New Deal Standing 2)

31.
FORT HILL HIGH SCHOOL, Cumberland, Allegany County
32. PAVILION, Swallow Falls State Park, Garrett County
33. POST OFFICE, Silver Spring, Montgomery County
34. APARTMENT BUILDING, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George's County
35. ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT'S HOUSE, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George's County
36. WESTBROOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, Bethesda, Montgomery County
37. LODGE 42, Camp Misty Mount, Catoctin Mountain Park, Frederick County
38. POST OFFICE, Bethesda, Montgomery County
39.
POST OFFICE MURAL, Bethesda, Montgomery County
40. "MOTHER & CHILD," Greenbelt, Prince George's County
41. BAS RELIEF, Greenbelt, Prince George's County
42.
SHELTER, Glen Woods, Towson State University, Baltimore County
43.
CABINS, Western Maryland 4-H Education Center, Garrett County
44.
COURTHOUSE, Salisbury, Wicomico County
45.
LOCH RAVEN-MONTEBELLO TUNNEL, Baltimore County & Baltimore City

 31. FORT HILL HIGH SCHOOL, Cumberland, Allegany County

Above: Fort Hill High School was built with the assistance of funds from the Public Works Administration.  The areas around the school building, e.g., roadways, driveways, athletic fields, were developed with WPA labor.  The WPA constructed the football stadium and stadium stands, although the stands (to the left) have since been modernized.  The Fort Hill High School website points out that "At the time (of the construction of Fort Hill High School) critics questioned the effectiveness of of the New Deal government programs, satirically labeling the projects; 'We Poke Along,' or "We Piddle Along' make work jobs.  Fort Hill High School and Constitution Park stand in opposition to those critics as they have provided eight decades of service to Cumberland residents" (http://www.forthillhs.com/Information/infobio.html).  Indeed, the website states that when Fort Hill High School opened it had 1,763 students.  Let's assume, conservatively I think, that 350 students have graduated from Fort Hill High School each year for the past 75 years.  This would be over 26,000 graduates.  So, was the construction of Fort Hill High School wasteful spending?  Were the WPA workers merely shovel-leaners, working on a "boondoggle"?  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) The WPA photo collection at the University of Maryland College Park Archives, and (2) the Fort Hill High School webpage http://www.forthillhs.com/Information/infobio.html)         

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 32. PAVILION, Swallow Falls State Park, Garrett County

Above: This pavilion at Swallow Falls State Park was built by the CCC.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: Maryland Department of Natural Resources)

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 33. POST OFFICE, Silver Spring, Montgomery County

Above: According to a report prepared for the Maryland Historical Trust, the "Old Silver Spring Post Office" was built in 1936-37, "under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)."  Photo taken in 2011.

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 34. APARTMENT BUILDING, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George's County

Above: The WPA built this apartment building, circa 1938, for workers at Patuxent Research Refuge.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) Maryland Historical Trust and (2) "Early History of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center," by Dr. Leland B. Morley, 1948)

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 35. ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT'S HOUSE, Patuxent Research Refuge, Prince George's County

Above: The Assistant Superintendent's home at Patuxent Research Refuge--built by the WPA circa 1938.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: (1) Maryland Historical Trust and (2) "Early History of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center," by Dr. Leland B. Morley, 1948)

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 36. WESTBROOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, Bethesda, Montgomery County

Above: According to a Maryland Historical Trust report, "Westbrook Elementary School (1939) is an important architectural landmark in the history of Montgomery County and its public school.  It is the only Federal Public Works school in the county.  A plaque in the school's main hall identifies the building as a project of the Federal Works Agency, Public Works Administration and includes the names John M. Carmody, Federal Works Agency and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States."  Also, according to the school's history page (http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/westbrookes/about/westbrookhistory.aspx) Westbrook was built with the assistance of WPA labor.  Photo taken in 2011.

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 37. LODGE 42, Camp Misty Mount, Catoctin Mountain Park, Frederick County

Above: Lodge 42 at Catoctin Mountain park was built with WPA labor in the 1930s.  Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.  (Source of information: National Park Service)

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 38. POST OFFICE, Bethesda, Montgomery County

Above: A Maryland Historical Trust report for this Bethesda post office states, "As a representative example of WPA construction, the building provides a physical link for the county with this important program and period in American history."  Photo taken in 2011.  (Note: There is an interesting mural inside the building but I'm not sure about the history of it)

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 39. Post Office Mural, Bethesda, Montgomery County

Above: This is a mural inside the Bethesda Post Office.  According to the New Deal Art Registry, this mural is titled "Montgomery County Farm Women's Market," and was painted by Robert F. Gates in 1939.  (Image used for educational, non-commercial, and non-profit making purposes.  Copyright United States Postal Service.  All rights reserved.)   

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 40. "MOTHER & CHILD," Greenbelt, Prince George's County

Above: This statue--at the plaza of the Greenbelt Community Shopping Center--was made by Lenore Thomas, circa 1939.  Thomas was an artist commissioned by the WPA.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: Photo displays in the Greenbelt Community Center building)

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 41. BAS RELIEF, Greenbelt, Prince George's County

Above: One of several bas relief sculptures on the side of the Greenbelt Community Building, created by Lenore Thomas, and commissioned by the WPA, circa 1937.  Photo taken in 2011.  (Source of information: Photo displays in the Greenbelt Community Center building)

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 42. SHELTER, Glen Woods, Towson State University, Baltimore County

Above: This shelter at Glen Woods was built by the WPA, circa 1936.  Photo taken 2011.  (Source of information: (1) WPA photograph collection at the University of Maryland College Park archives, and (2) an information placard in Glen Woods)

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 43. CABINS, Western Maryland 4-H Education Center, Garrett County

Above: According to a report for the Maryland Historical Trust, the WPA built 24 structures, including these cabins, at the Western Maryland 4-H Education Center (then called "Pleasant Valley Recreation Center") between 1936 and 1938.  This is a picture of some of the larger sized cabins.  Photo taken 2012.

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 44. COURTHOUSE, Salisbury, Wicomico County

Above: A report for the Maryland Historical Trust indicates that this large addition to the Wicomico County Courthouse (there is another, much older section of the court, not seen in this photo) was "financed by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works," an earlier name of the Public Works Administration.  Photo taken 2011.  

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 45. LOCH RAVEN--MONTEBELLO TUNNEL, Baltimore County & Baltimore City

Above: This is a view of the Montebello water filtration facility in Baltimore City (photo taken from across Lake Montebello).  Water arrives here from the Loch Raven reservoir through a tunnel about 6 miles long.  I have some conflicting information about this tunnel (i.e., was it a WPA or PWA project?) but, according to several newspaper articles, as well as a book written by city employee Ronald Parks detailing the construction of the tunnel based on written records, it appears that the Loch Raven-Montebello Tunnel was built with the assistance of PWA funds, but not with WPA labor.  My research on the tunnel is probably a good example of how WPA and PWA projects sometimes get confused with one another, and also how difficult it is to research underground infrastructure.  In any event, the tunnel is a result of a New Deal era, "big government" program and, according to Ronald Parks, "Nearly seventy years later, this tunnel is still providing fresh drinking water to Baltimore City and surrounding counties" (p. 122).  A worthwhile investment?  (Sources of information: Email correspondence with city officials/employees, various Baltimore Sun articles, and the book "Building the Gunpowder Falls--Montebello Tunnel, 1935 - 1940," by Ronald Parks, self-published in 2007.  Note: the Loch Raven Reservoir is fed by the Gunpowder Falls River.)  Photo taken 2011.            

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