Saturday, March 8, 2014

138 WPA Outdoor Theatres

(According to records at the National Archives, and the August 16, 1937 edition of the Gastonia Daily Gazette, both the WPA and the CCC contributed to the construction of the Waterside Theatre at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island. Photo by Brent McKee, 2013.)

Between 1935 and 1943, WPA workers built 138 new outdoor theatres. These constructions were just a small part of the WPA's overall activities to get Americans "out and about." There were also outdoor concerts by WPA orchestras, recreation & leisure-time activities (e.g., wildlife clubs, dances, physical education courses), and thousands of new sites & structures developed for physical activity, including, playgrounds, municipal parks, athletic fields, horseshoe courts, ski trails, ice skating areas, golf courses, and much more.

Considering the problems associated with our current sedentary lifestyles (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes, less frequent social interaction), and our continuing un- and under-employment problems, wouldn't it be nice if we had a WPA today, to engage in similar projects?

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