When we think about the Works Progress Administration, most picture the armories, schools, and bridges which remain. But the New Deal created hope across the country for many hit hard by the Great Depression. In 1935, the WPA alone employed over 1,200 people in Logan County. Men got jobs paving roads, improving the water filtration system, and building public buildings throughout the county. Women got jobs in sewing rooms and some were even employed as book binders at the Carnegie Library. In 1935, the Civil Conservation Corps set up Camp Winters west of Guthrie. 200 young men lived at the camp while doing soil conservation work. The National Youth Administration provided part time jobs for teenagers with projects like park improvements. A new stadium for Guthrie had failed to pass a bond election, but WPA funds helped create the Jelsma Stadium we have today. WPA projects popped up across the county with schools being built in Crescent, Guthrie, Langston, Lovell, Meridian, Mulhall and Roxanna. The Crescent City Hall was built as a WPA project and the farm to market roads were paved from Meridian and Pleasant Valley.
As times changed, many of these projects have become obsolete, but remnants remain throughout the county. In order to highlight all that the New Deal brought to Logan County, the LCHS is excited to launch our new self-guided tour of WPA sites and history in Logan County. We are working hard to finalize the tour and make it available on our website. I encourage you to take the time to check out these sites, before it’s too late.
Amy Loch is the Executive Director of the Logan County Historical Society. This blog was created to share stories of experiential history in and connected to Logan County.