New Deal's Norvelt Homestead Offered Help, Hope to Families

By Robbins, Richard | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

New Deal's Norvelt Homestead Offered Help, Hope to Families


Robbins, Richard, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


First lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Norvelt on May 21, 1937, inspecting the town and several homes.

In April 1933, a month into the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt penned a note to an ally, Sen. George Norris of Nebraska, asking him to add $25 million to an existing bill to place 25,000 destitute families in brand-new homes.

"It can be done," the president wrote. "Will you talk this over with some of our fellow dreamers on the Hill?"

The dreamers created not just new homes but entire communities. One was Norvelt, in Mt. Pleasant, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in July.

Out of the depths of the Great Depression, Norvelt -- named for its greatest champion, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt -- gave refuge to 250 young families, including hundreds of children who are custodians of its legacy.

"There will never be another Norvelt," said Earl Saville, 81, who still lives in the house his parents and seven siblings moved into in 1935. "It was unique."

Spread over some 1,900 acres in central Westmoreland County, Norvelt was an experiment.

The idea was to restore hope to men and their families who ravaged by the most tumultuous economic upheaval in history: the Great Depression.

Families were provided with jobs, comfortable homes, ample property and, for good measure, government assistance in re- ordering their lives.

The families of Norvelt lived in five- and six-room homes complete with running water, indoor plumbing and a coal furnace. They tended three to seven acres -- enough land to grow a large garden, plant fruit trees and install a chicken coop.

Renting for $12 a month, a home in Norvelt -- painted white, gray or yellow, according to government specifications -- beat the alternative, possibly a coal company house without central heating or plumbing in nearby villages of Hecla, Calumet or United.

To earn money -- 50 cents an hour for an eight-hour day, a large portion of which the government retained for rent -- adults worked on cooperative farms. One farm raised pigs, another chickens, a third dairy cows. A garment factory, which came to town in 1938, was another community-owned venture that provided employment.

Government in charge

Norvelt was run by the federal government from its inception.

There was no town council; a director chosen by the government ran the place. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Deal's Norvelt Homestead Offered Help, Hope to Families
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.