Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

More About Sherburne County Depression Era Programs

Young men, most likely from the NYA, taking a break
 from working on the Handke Stadium, a joint NYC and
WPA project in Elk River

Recent blog posts regarding Depression era programs in Sherburne County suggest a number of county residents received federal assistance.  Further reading the pages of the county newspaper, the Sherburne County Star News, shows the county nearly dependent on federal programs for survival. 

Several articles in the newspapers report the Sherburne County farming community received significant support from Franklin Roosevelt’s economic programs.  In 1940 and 1941 nearly 90 percent of the farms in Sherburne County received benefits from the Agriculture Adjustment Administration.  In 1941, 1630 farms in Sherburne County, out of a total of 1822 farms, received some payments from the AAA programs. 

In addition to farm aid, depression era programs included the construction around Handke Stadium.  The Works Progress Administration (the WPA) funded a variety of road construction and gravel paving projects throughout Sherburne county.  The federal program also funded construction of a 115-foot steel and concrete bridge in Big Lake.  The WPA also funded a hot lunch program at Elk River school.  The program fed 125 children.  The WPA also funded book repair programs and community education programs in Sherburne County. 

Simple mental calculations show the amount of federal aid spent in Sherburne County significantly assisted the community in recovering from the 1930s economic depression.  With the WPA, AAA, CCC, and NYA the county clearly received significant benefits and assistance, assistance impossible to fully calculate.