original historically important and highly symbolic c. 1930's american depression era work progress administration jobsite double-sided painted steel sign


UR #:: UR-16642-13

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Product Description

very rare and important american depression era exterior double-sided work progress administration jobsite sign comprised of heavy gauge steel with nicely worn and weathered hand-painted finish. exact sign fabricator unknown. the notable wpa graphic originally contained bold black and white lettering against a background containing red, white and blue stripes. surface wear consistent with age. the oversized sign contains multiple bullet holes and markings along the edges left by a wood frame removed long ago. the works progress administration (renamed in 1939 as the work projects administration; wpa) was the largest and most ambitious new deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. the project was created by order of president franklin delano roosevelt, and funded by congress with passage of the emergency relief appropriation act of 1935 on april 8, 1935. the wpa was largely shaped by harry hopkins, close adviser to president roosevelt. the wpa was initially intended to be an extension of the federal emergency relief administration work program, which funded projects run by states and cities. many were for infrastructure, such as bridges, roads and parks, but they also included archeological excavations of significant sites, the historic american buildings survey (habs), and other historic preservation activities. both roosevelt and hopkins believed that the route to economic recovery and the lessened importance of "the dole" would be in employment programs such as the wpa. almost every community in the united states had a new park, bridge or school constructed by the agency. the wpa's initial appropriation in 1935 was for $4.9 billion (about 6.7 percent of the 1935 gdp), and in total it spent $13.4 billion. at its peak in 1938, it provided paid jobs for three million unemployed men. headed by harry hopkins, the wpa provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the great depression in the united states. between 1935 and 1943, the wpa provided almost eight million jobs. full employment, which emerged as a national goal around 1944, was not the wpa goal. it tried to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment. the wpa was a national program that operated its own projects in cooperation with state and local governments, which provided 10%-30% of the costs. wpa sometimes took over state and local relief programs that had originated in the reconstruction finance corporation or federal emergency relief administration programs. liquidated on june 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of world war ii, the wpa provided millions of americans with jobs for 8 years. most people who needed a job were eligible for at least some of its positions. hourly wages were typically set to the prevailing wages in each area. but, workers could not be paid for more than 30 hours a week. before 1940, to meet the objections of the labor unions, the programs provided very little training to teach new skills to workers.