JULIUS STONE AND WPA RESPONSIBLE FOR KEY WEST TOURISM DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Prosperity has it ups and downs. Key West knew great success in the mid 1800’s. Key West at the time was the wealthiest city per capita in the United States.

The Great Depression beginning in 1929 took its toll. By the time 1934 arrived, the entire country was in the depths of the Great Depression. Key West went bankrupt. Eighty five percent of its people were on relief.

Roosevelt had formed the WPA. His intent was that public funds be utilized to bring America out of the doldrums of financial disaster.

Key West owes much to Julius Stone. He was the Florida Administrator of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. He traveled to Key West to assess the situation.

Stone concluded that the only remedy was tourism. He envisioned  rehabilitation and beautification as the first step. Make Key West an attraction as a tourist resort.

His thought was to bring artists to Key West from other areas. They were Public Workers Art Project artists. They did paintings and murals. Tourist brochures and postcards were created. An art gallery established for sales. Art and craft classes were made available.

A choral society and dramatic organization were established. A week long festival created. The choral and dramatic groups produced Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.

Stone’s efforts were successful. The winter season of 1934-35 brought 35,000-40,000 vacationers to Key west.

Key West was on the road again! Success!

The WPA took over from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The WPA continued to operate the program into the 1940’s.

Tourism took a beating following its first successful season. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 responsible. Bridges and the railroad wiped out. Access to Key West became difficult.

A highway was completed in 1938 which connected Key West to the mainland. Tourism flourished for a number of years.

Much of the Depression Art created exists to this day. Two of William Hoffman’s large murals are on the walls of the new City Hall’s Commission Chambers. Gallery on the Greene offers some of the works for sale.

Noteworthy artists from the first batch to arrive included Stanley Wood, Avery Johnson, and Alfred Crimi. Later came Walton Blodget, Marion Crawford-Parker, and Townsend Morgan.

Hard times would fall upon Key West after the Navy left sometime in the late 1940’s. Key West was in a state of economic despair til the mid 1960’s when David Wolkowsky returned and created a new successful Key West. His story has been told many times in earlier blogs.

In a certain respect, what is presently transpiring between the U.S. and Iran reminds me of another time in history.

It was June 28, 1914. Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated. All historians agree it was the spark that began World War I.

A July Ultimatum dated July 28 drew the battle lines. Within 2 days, sides taken. All European nations were involved on one side or the other, except for Italy. World War I had begun.

The war was an unintended result of an intended act. The Archduke’s assassination the intended act. World War I the unintended result.

What is presently transpiring today between the U.S. and Iran could result in an Archduke/World war I situation. Trump keeps pushing a war. He may not intend one. Though in this instance I suspect he does as it will be considered a major occurrence benefiting Trump’s good friends Saudi Arabia and Israel. Both who have sought the destruction of Iran for years.

Big tree from little acorns grow. The back and forth between Iran and the U.S. involve minor happenings. Till now. Who knows what will happen next. Any small episode could result in war.  A war between the U.S. and Iran would immediately result in Saudi Arabia and Israel siding with the U.S. Other Middle East nations will choose sides. Russia and China will back Iran. The beginning of World War III.

Most Americans have to be appalled by the up front news concerning the 330 children detained at a border station. Disgusting, deplorable. Unamerican. Yet Trump and his cohorts do not seem to care.

The children ages 0+ to 17 had no toothpaste, soap, clean clothes, showers, and medical care. No beds resulting in children sleeping on concrete floors. No blankets, either. Some children living in the detention center as long as 9 months. Eating the same food every day. No deviation. Eight and 10 year olds caring for infants 1-4. Flu and lice going untreated.

OBSCENE!

Trump’s excuse is that there is no money. No money because the Democrats in the House won’t vote the funds. A lame excuse.

Trump transfers funds from one account to another for the wall and other things. Why not transfer funds to care for the migrant children detained?

Something else bothers me. Does the fact that the children are Latinos have anything to do with it?

Because of the public outcry the past 3 days, 300 of the 330 children have been transferred to another detention center.

I almost forgot. There is a 2 year old girl. She cries constantly wanting to be held. Even during the night. The older girls (5-10) take turns holding her.

There is a Hell for those who treat the least of us as these children have been.

Teddy Roosevelt responsible for many sayings/quotations popular even to today. Like Maxwell Coffee…..”Good to the last drop.”

M blog has a Comment section. Do I get comments! Some rough. That’s life. My readers cover the spectrum of events from one end to the other.

Very often they conflict/argue with each other.

Some share their names. Others a home made funny one. Many are signed Anonymous.

Anonymous does not mean they are ashamed of what they write. They merely prefer not to have their name bandied about. Understandable.

The names are numbered regardless of how signed.

There is Anonymous 23.227.194.203. A solid citizen. Reflected in comments submitted. Number 23 etc. responded to something with a quote by Teddy Roosevelt concerning Patriotism: “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth – whether about the President or about anyone else – save in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him.”

Another night in. Intended to go to Dueling Bartenders. Never made it.

Donna e-mailed me that she was at Aqua and where was I. Terri was singing. Apologized and told her I loved my bed more than Teri at the moment. She understood.

Terri is out their singing several nights a week. Amazing! Only 2 weeks ago a heart attack.

My blog talk radio show tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A fast moving half hour. I rant and rave. A lot to rant and rave about this past week. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

11 comments on “JULIUS STONE AND WPA RESPONSIBLE FOR KEY WEST TOURISM DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION

  1. Key West wasn’t the only place helped with art and stuff by FDR and his WPA. Thank God that there wasn’t a Republican in the White House during those days. Who knows if there would even be a USA today. My out of work father and other men on the block were picked up in the morning and driven downtown to shovel snow, all paid by the WPA program.

  2. I don’t want want to be identified because I am physically afraid of some of the other ones who pop up on here on occasion.

  3. Just die already you worthless anti-Trump piece of trash. You are an utterly irrelevant New York transplant that just needs to die off already, or at least move back and sit with the rest of the miserable whiners up there.

    He’s your President, loser.

  4. The WPA was certainly the greatest public works project in our history. It provided jobs and family income to millions of Americans during the Great Depression who would otherwise have been unemployed and destitute. They built streets, roads, bridges, dams and public buildings from one side of the country to the other. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was a WPA project. They built Camp David and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sadly, most young Americans today know nothing about it, even though they benefit every day from the accomplishments of the WPA.

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