WPA Today   

Public Buildings 1

WPA Poster

Building, Repairing, and Improving Public Buildings in Maryland
(See Photos Below!)

     The WPA built, repaired, or improved 125,110 public buildings across America from 1935 to 1943.  These included schools, hospitals & health centers, libraries, firehouses, town halls, community centers, armories, warehouses, office buildings, college dormitories, historic buildings, and various other types of buildings at cemeteries, military bases, airports, prisons, parks, etc.

     In Maryland, the WPA built, repaired, or improved 2,576 public buildings.  A general breakdown:

19 new schools

389 schools repaired or improved
209 other new public buildings
1,959 other public buildings repaired or improved

DATA SOURCE: Federal Works Agency, Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-1943. Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946, pp. 135 & 51-52)   

     You will see photos of public buildings throughout this website, but below is a sampling of some of the public buildings the Maryland WPA worked on. 


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: The WPA built this firehouse in Chestertown, Kent County (Maryland WPA project #3159, March 1938).

Above: The Chestertown Firehouse--now the Town Hall--as it appears today.  Notice the structural changes. (Photographed September 2011)

Above: The Williamsport Town Hall (Washington County), built by the WPA in 1939.  Maryland WPA project # unknown.  (Photographed August 2011)

Above: Another view of the Williamsport Town Hall (Photographed August 2011).

Above: Cornerstone on the Williamsport Town Hall (Photographed August 2011).

Above: Construction of the Williamsport Memorial Library.  A narrative in the library states: "Erected in 1936 as a memorial to the 14 local High School youths who lost their lives in a tragic bus accident near Rockville, Maryland" (The bus had been hit by a train and the horrendous accident made national headlines).  (Maryland WPA project #535, November 1936)

Above: The completed Williamsport Memorial Library, September 1937.

Above: The Williamsport Memorial Library as it appears today (Photographed August 2011).

Above: Constructing a community building in Williamsport, in a park behind the Williamsport Memorial Library (Maryland WPA project #3356, 1938).

Above: The finished Williamsport community building, 1938.

Above: The Williamsport community building, as it appears today (Photographed August 2011).

Above: WPA workers constructing a community building in Mardela Springs, Wicomico County (Maryland WPA project #4, December 1935).

Above: The nearly finished community building in Mardela Springs, May 1936.

Above: The Mardela Springs building as it appears today; currently used by town's fire department.  (Photographed in 2011)

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