Works Progress Administration

Works Progress Administration

I love being a docent at Shippensburg Historical Society,  and the best part is showing people thru our home, the Stewart House. The house is one of the oldest structures in Shippensburg.  I like to tell the story about Dr. Stewart remodeling the house and deciding he didn’t like the beautiful staircase which is an integral part of the house.  He was going to remove it and discovered it is also structural.  The staircase stayed!

Even when it’s very hot, I like to take people upstairs if they can stand some heat.  There are great displays up there, including one whole room dedicated to Dr. Stewart.  He gave the Historical Society most of the items from his practice when he retired.  He charged $8.00 for an office visit.  That was in the 1950’s.  There is also what we call the Indian Room, which has thousands of Indian artifacts, arrowheads other pointed projectiles.  You should check us out!

But apart from that, there is another very interesting room upstairs.  The Works Progress Administration room is a concept many people have never heard of before. During the Depression, many people were poor, jobless, hopeless, and needed help from anywhere they could find it.  The government  began a process of putting people to work, doing large reconstruction jobs such as bridges, etc. 

But they also put people to work making smaller things.  In our WPA room, there are castings of various things such as buildings and even fish and snakes.   There are looms and marionette puppets and dioramas.  People made these things, around here, and got paid to make them.  They were then used to teach school children.  Shippensburg Historical Society has the largest collection of small WPA items that is still housed in the community in which it was made and used. 

So, some day when you’re in Shippensburg, any Wednesday, Friday or Saturday (excluding holidays) between 1 and 4, come check us out!  Many local people say they never knew we were here, or that we had so many interesting things in the house.  We also have great help available for people interested in genealogy.

Here is a great article from Wikipedia with  more info about WPA.

2 responses to “Works Progress Administration

  1. Yes, there was the WPA and don’t forget the CCC Camps. Young people helped to reforest America, constructed parks, etc. Another way the citizens were able to be employed during the great Depression.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s