President Franklin Roosevelt established the New Deal to solve problems created by the Great Depression. Included in the New Deal was the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The purpose of WPA was to help those who couldn’t find employment after the Depression. It provided relief until the economy recovered. Those who were employed by WPA had to be U.S. citizens, 18 or older, able bodied, unemployed and certified as having a need.
There were many projects that were a part of WPA. Of all the projects, I found Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Packhorse Library Project most interesting and wanted to share the information.
CCC had a large presence in this area from 1933-42. The jobs were unskilled manual labor related to conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local government. CCC provided shelter, clothing, food and a wage of $30 a month. An amount of $25 was to be given to the family of the worker.
There was a camp at Monument Nursery west of Monument on Mount Herman Road. The men worked at the nursery planting trees and constructed a road from Monument to Woodland Park. In November, they moved to Manitou Springs and worked on the road that was to become Rampart Range Road, which connected Garden of the Gods to Mount Herman Road. They also worked on flood control on Fountain Creek and fought the 1934 Tarryall Fire.
CCC was the most popular of the projects as it gave men improved physical condition, heightened morale and experience to list when seeking employment. They also gained a great appreciation for the outdoors and natural resources.
I recently read “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” by author Kim Michele Richardson. The book is about the Packhorse Library Project. The project was established to create jobs and bring books and reading materials to the poorest and most isolated people of the Appalachians in Kentucky. There were not many schools and no libraries at the time in the area. The packhorse women brought material to the people.
Most of those involved in the project were women, sometimes the only breadwinner in the family. They provided their own mules, horses or other means of transportation to complete their routes. They made $28 a month. All the books, supplies and places to store the books were donated. The women were hardy and traveled in snow, sleet, rain and over treacherous roads to get to their patrons.
The patrons most often requested health, parenting and current events material. The Bible was one of the most popular books requested. Scrapbooks were made by the book women featuring hints, recipes, quilting patterns and other interesting bits of information passed to them by their patrons. They developed a relationship with their patrons and knew their interests so they could look for material to meet their needs. On the route, they would sometimes teach reading classes, read to schoolchildren and visit with those they met along the way If they saw a need, they did what they could to help.
Linda Saulnier Case is a third-generation Monument resident. She enjoys researching and sharing about the history of the founding of Monument. Contact Linda with feedback and questions on Tri-Lakes life and history at email@example.com.