Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Supporting the War: The Sherburne County Scrap Drive of 1942

It has been a few months, but with the new year, I am resolved to post more information about the history of Sherburne County.  So, here goes: 

With the anniversary of World War Two, we have all heard about the scrap drives and rationing programs.  Yet, exploring the scrap drives in more detail may enlighten us about the true value of this particular program. 

Sherburne county promoted its first scrap drive in the summer of 1942.  Elk River Mayor M. C. Tesch provided some perspective on the value of scrap metal to the war effort.  He noted fifty pounds of scrap metal would help make artillery shells.  Cartridge cases originated from discarded doorknobs. And, 25 tons of steel made a tank.  In this first scrap dive, the city of Elk River urged the citizens to deliver 30,000 pounds of scrap for the war effort.  

Although J. D. Flaherty, the chairman of the scrap drive committee, felt the city would surpass the goal, disappointment greeted him at the end of the day.  Elk River residents gave only 16,000 pounds to the drive.  This is not suggesting a penurious trait among Elk River residents.  Mr. Flaherty overestimated the capabilities of Elk River to give 30,000 pounds of scrap. Based on his goal, every family in Elk River needed to donate at least 100 pounds of scrap.  In some areas of the city, expectations clearly exceeded possibilities.
In spite of the slow start to the scrap campaign, Flaherty and others continued to organize and collect scrap to support the war effort in Sherburne county.  The scrap drives and rationing programs allowed everyone in Sherburne County to support the war from 1941 to 1945.  As we delve into the newspaper reports, the residents of Sherburne county passionately supported the war effort.

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