Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Federal Theatre Project Visits Mt. Park Casino

The taxpayer-funded Works Progress Administration's (WPA) Federal Theatre Project put some of the nation's unemployed actors to work during the last depression. Writers and artists, too, were sustained through those lean years by the massive get-to-work WPA program, instituted by executive order in 1935 and funded with a nearly five billion dollar initial outlay by Congress. Public works projects commenced, as well, under the auspices of the WPA. According to Indiana State University's Lilly Library WPA web page:
"By March, 1936, the WPA rolls had reached a total of more than 3,400,000 persons; after initial cuts in June 1939, it averaged 2,300,000 monthly; and by June 30, 1943, when it was officially terminated, the WPA had employed more than 8,500,000 different persons on 1,410,000 individual projects, and had spent about $11 billion. During its 8-year history, the WPA built 651,087 miles of highways, roads, and streets; and constructed, repaired, or improved 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 airport landing fields."
Folks in Western Massachusetts benefited from many of the economic stimuli the federal government was using to try to kick start a hungry nation way back when. Roads and parks, plays and displays...somehow America muddled through those hard times to get more hard times. Well, okay then. Here we are. Let's build some cool stuff. Let's fix some roads and bridges. Let's clear some trails. Let's not forget the artists and most of all: Let's laugh. It's free.

Here are some posters from the WPA Federal Theatre Project - found in the archives of the Library of Congress - advertising shows at Mountain Park Casino, Holyoke, Massachusetts.

July, 1938

August, 1938

September, 1938

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

More on Mt. Tom and Mountain Park from EWM:

A Ride on the Mt. Tom Railroad, Holyoke
Holyoke, Massachusetts: Mountain Park (c1900-1915)
A Misty Morning on the Bray Loop Trail

Poster sources:

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Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Great post, as always, and some terrific WPA posters.

Mark T. Alamed said...

Thanks Jacqueline!