WPA Today   

Princess Anne HS



WPA Poster

Princess Anne High School, Somerset County
(See Photos Below!)
Maryland WPA Project #3340 (1938-39)

      The old Princess Anne High School, now used as a county office building, appears to be one of the 19 new schools the WPA built in Maryland (in addition to the 19 new schools, the WPA repaired or improved 389 already-existing schools in Maryland).  SOURCE: Federal Works Agency, Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-1943,  Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946, p. 135 (available for download here).

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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
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Above: The description card for this photo reads, "Demolition old Washington Academy."  This photo was taken in June of 1938, and is listed as Maryland WPA project #3340.  This is the same project number associated with the photos below, so I'm assuming that the building above was demolished to make room for the building in the photos below.  However, it's possible that this is not the case.  Sometimes a wide-ranging project had a single project number.  For example, a project to paint several schools in a particular county might be assigned just one project number.  Another interesting thing to notice is that the building that is being demolished is more architecturally interesting than the (presumed) replacement building.  But the older building could have been unsafe, too small for a burgeoning student population, or unsuitable for modern utilities.  So, while it seems that a potentially historic structure was needlessly demolished, it's hard to know for sure without more facts.  The reason I bring this up, is because some scholars have noted that the New Deal building programs sometimes demolished historically significant buildings (which is something that has been done throughout American history, of course--even in today's supposedly more historic-conscious society).  So, this could have been one of those "oops" demolitions, making the photo very interesting/significant.
 

Above: Working on the new school's foundation, August 1938.


Above: Continued work on the foundation, September 1938.


Above: The cornerstone is set on September 7th, 1938, with an audience of current and future high school students watching.


Above: The building gets closer to completion, in January 1939.


Above: Today, the building serves as a county office building.  Photo taken in 2011.
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