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Class Project: 1935

Class Project: 1935

April 1935. "Schoolchildren building houses. Reedsville, West Virginia." After recess, Billy will scour the playground for any stray tools or fingers. Photo by Elmer S. Johnson for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Looks about right

My two are always building things and breaking up rocks in the yard when their lessons are done. I guess I don't leave enough scrap wood out for a frame house, though. Something to think about!

What Could Go Wrong?

Can you imagine guardians handing over full-sized saws and hammers to eight-year-old children today and saying, "Go at it!"?


The buildings in the background are still there.

(Google Earth will take you right to the spot if you look for Arthurdale Heritage, Inc.)

Leather Heads

I noticed that four of the boys are wearing leather aviator-type head gear, one complete with goggles. I've seen these worn by kids in period photos before, but never by so many at once. Does this photo capture some type of mid-1930s fashion fad?

[In the mid-1950s I was outfitted with one, fur-lined but sans goggles, for chilly early-morning walks to school. Nice and comfy. -tterrace]

Public service project

It's a new Hooverville, of course.

I like the very light framing, too. Contractors and house inspectors tell me that you could get away with that in days past because they were using a lot of very straight, knot-free heartwood in building.

I'm personally also glad to see these kids not only learning useful skills but also that they are well clothed. Not a lot of holes or patches there.

cAR id

1935 Cadillac?


Look at all those children using saws and hammers, and building something! Today's children have little skill to do anything similar. I used to teach stage craft at a local high school, and none of the kids in that high school could wield a hammer or use a saw. I had one kid try to drive a screw with a drill bit. It breaks my heart. I blame the lack of shop classes.

Safety First

Or second, maybe third! Or maybe not!


Those two girls in the center are in for a big surprise.


This could have been the infancy of "Habitat for Humanity" or perhaps the very beginning of the current trend for tiny houses and extreme downsizing. Very industrious kids.

All that talent

and they can read cursive, too!

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