Surviving the Dirty Thirties Historical

Surviving the Dirty Thirties Historical (HM1T22)

Location: Saint John, KS 67576 Stafford County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 0.064', W 98° 45.611'

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Recipe for Hard Times

Combine major drought, high summer temperatures, too much land under cultivation, and strong prairie winds. Throw in rock-bottom wheat prices and the Great Depression, and you have the recipe for the Dirty Thirties.
In the 1930s, winds whipped Kansas topsoil into sun-darkening clouds. Wheat crops withered. Not everyone suffered equally—many farms pulled in marginal harvests and stayed afloat—but times were lean all around.
President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs helped local communities weather these hard times. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Work Projects [sic - Works Progress] Administration (WPA) hired local men for a range of construction projects, including many bridges in Barton County (seven of them crafted from native limestone) and a number of municipal buildings, like the auditorium in Great Bend and the high school in St. John. The WPA funded regional artists as well—a legacy that endures in the 1938 "Wheat Center" mural in the Hoisington post office.
Tree-planting Tradition
During the 1930s, farmers received federal funds to plant and maintain shelterbelts to reduce soil erosion. However, planting trees was nothing new to Kansas farmers. In 1865, Kansas became the first state to create a tree bounty, offering 50 cents an acre for every five acres of trees
planted.
Motion and Change
Though local limestone had largely fallen out of construction use by the 1920s as easier-to-use materials became available, the Great Depression sparked a resurgence. Local WPA bridge projects combined native limestone with meticulous workmanship, marrying function and enduring beauty.
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Details
HM NumberHM1T22
Tags
Placed ByWetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway, Kansas Dept of Transportation, and Federal Highway Administration
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, July 14th, 2016 at 9:01pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 521054 N 4205960
Decimal Degrees38.00106667, -98.76018333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 0.064', W 98° 45.611'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 0' 3.84" N, 98° 45' 36.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)620
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 247-299 N Broadway St, Saint John KS 67576, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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