CWA Projects


One of the most important Civil Works Administration (CWA)
 projects in the Huntington area was the construction of
new sewers on the city’s south side, from
 14th Street to West 5th Street.

File photo | The Herald-Dispatch


HUNTINGTON — With the arrival of the Great Depression in 1929,
 millions of workers lost their jobs, almost overnight. When Franklin D.
 Roosevelt took office as president in 1933, he quickly launched
 a series of programs aimed at stabilizing the economy
 and putting jobless Americans back to work.

One of those programs was the Civil Works Administration (CWA),
 which in less than five months — from November 1933 to March
1934 — provided jobs for 4 million people. Nationwide,
 CWA workers laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and
 built or improved 250,000 miles of roads, 40,000
 schools, 3,700 playgrounds and
nearly 1,000 airports.

In the Huntington area, the CWA program employed 4,000
men on sewer and road improvements and work at Ritter
 Park, Marshall College (now University), Spring Hill
Cemetery and the Huntington State Hospital.

One of the most important CWA projects was the construction
 of new sewers on the city’s south side, from 14th Street to
West 5th Street. And CWA workers labored
 alongside State Road Commission crews
 to improve 5th Street Road, helping
speed traffic between Huntington
 and Wayne.

CWA workers erected a new stone wall around Ritter Park’s
popular rose garden, along with a new brick wall and
 sidewalks on the Marshall campus. A quarry was
opened at Spring Hill Cemetery to provide stones
for a decorative fence around the cemetery.
More than $120,000 was spent on
improvements to the buildings and
grounds at the State Hospital.

Although the CWA provided much employment, there were
critics who said there was nothing of permanent value.
Such criticism prompted Roosevelt to end the CWA
 and replace it with the Work Progress Administration
(WPA), which would emphasize projects with
long-term value in addition to short-term
 benefits for the unemployed.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Sep. 27, 2022..


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