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Civil Works Administration


A New Deal agency established in the late fall of 1933, the Civil Works Administration sought to provide emergency work relief for the many still unemployed as the country faced another winter during the Great Depression. Paying higher wages than the meager subsistence rates previously prevailing in local work relief, the CWA quickly put some 80,000 West Virginians to work on projects ranging from road work and the building of 35,400 fly-proof sanitary privies to making mattresses. Although the subject of intense political conflict, the agency provided much-needed relief to West Virginians before President Franklin D. Roosevelt, alarmed at the cost, ordered it to cease operations in the spring of 1934.

Written by Jerry Bruce Thomas


  1. Thomas, Jerry Bruce. An Appalachian New Deal: West Virginia in the Great Depression. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.

  2. Beehler, William N. Relief, Work and Rehabilitation. West Virginia Relief Administration. Charleston: Matthews Printing & Litho. Co., 1934.