I was recently reminded back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was first running for the Presidency; the news reported a large sign in his campaign offices read: “It’s The Economy.” Now, nearly twenty years later, the economy is still a big issue. And, after reading 1936 copies of the Elk River Star News it becomes apparent that the economy is always in the news and always an important issue to consider in our local history.
Back in January of 1936, a major headline in the newspaper reported that the federal government was preparing to pay World War I veterans a bonus for their service. It was estimated in the paper, although probably too high, that some 300 veterans in
would receive $180,000, about $600 each. Sherburne County
All of this came available as a result of the World War Adjustment Compensation Act of 1924. Under that legislation, the federal government issued bonds to veterans that could be redeemed in 1945. With the crisis of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt passed legislation to redeem the certificates 9 years early. The
Elk River newspaper predicted a boom in the local economy as business would undoubtedly benefit from this new influx of money.
In spite of the promise of more money in the local economy, many people still held a sense of desperation. A number of unique organizations developed plans to better help the unemployed. In
the unemployed organized as an association. Each member pledged to be prepared to work when a job came available. Charles R. Beach and P. G. Kilmartin were elected officers of the new association. The association developed to urge local employers to find work for members of the group. This was yet another way to try to alleviate unemployment. Big Lake
The efforts to lower unemployment did not solve every issue. The front page of the Star News also reported a break in at the creamery of Twin Cities Milk Producers Association. Someone had broken into the warehouse and stolen 600 pounds of butter. Desperation seemed to be everywhere.
Whether it is today, twenty years ago, or seventy five year ago, I suppose the economy is always an important issue and an important consideration. Exploring the economic history of the county may be yet another way to understand the character and history of
. Sherburne County