President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal programs to revitalize the nation’s economy during the Great Depression. Recreation and infrastructure projects provided employment opportunities. Begun in 1933 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), commonly called the “Tree Army,” focused on reforestation and recreation projects. More than 55,000 West Virginia men were enrolled in the CCC and the state had more than 65 camps. Generally, CCC camps held a complement of 150-200 men housed in Army-style barracks. Enrollees were paid $30.00/month with $25.00 sent to the families and $5.00 for personal use.
The second wave of New Deal programs began in 1935 and included the Works Progress Administration (WPA); it became the largest New Deal agency. The WPA built and improved city and county infrastructures such as roads, sewer systems, bridge building and municipal buildings. The WPA was also responsible for many arts, drama, media and literacy projects. Evidence of federally sponsored activities such as the Writer’s program, photography of the Great Depression in Appalachia, as well as post office murals and other arts programs are found throughout WV.
This website was created with support from the Preserve WV AmeriCorps program – the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s statewide national service initiative where members help main streets thrive, help capture local history, and help preserve beloved West Virginia landmarks.
This website is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.