Civil Works Administration

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The Civil Works Administration (CWA) was a federally supervised program to create work for unemployed workers in numerous civil works projects during the winter of 193334. The CWA was created by the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and paralleled the Civilian Conservation Corps which worked on projects outside urban areas and was extended through the early 1940s. Work similar to that undertaken by the CWA was carried on after 1936 by the Works Projects Administration.

Nationally the five-month long program spent just over a billion dollars and provided work for 4 million people. For administrative purposes, the CWA was divided into statewide and county-level districts. The Jefferson County Civil Works Administration, created on November 19, 1933, reached its full quota of 15,350 people on its payroll by February 15, 1934. When the program was concluded on March 31, 1934, the Jefferson County CWA had spent $3,064,607 on labor and $653,696 for materials. Of that amount, $248,586 was contributed by local governments and institutions while the remainder came from federal appropriations. Other federally-funded projects were also undertaken concurrently outside the scope of the CWA, but sometimes with labor provided by the CWA. At the conclusion of the program, some projects were continued by the State of Alabama.

The Jefferson County CWA detailed its safety record, reporting 221 lost-time accidents over the course of the project, 119 of which resulted in injury compensation and 1 of which was fatal. A complaints and investigations department dropped hundreds of workers from the rolls because they did not meet or uphold qualifications for employment.

Leadership

Administrator: Hayse Tucker (November 19, 1933–February 2, 1934)
A. C. Polk (February 2–March 12, 1934)
Lewis Ford (March 12–31, 1934)
Executive Board: Charles Clingman (chair), Henry Houze, W. I. Grubbs, Walter Henley, Paschal Shook, Mervyn Sterne, and Oscar Wells

Projects

Birmingham

Birmingham parks

  • Altamont Park: clearing underbrush, trimming shrubs, pruning trees
  • Avondale Park: clearing dead trees, grading clay tennis courts, baseball diamond and playground, drainage improvements, new and repaired barbecue pits
  • Caldwell Park: removed dead timber and trimmed trees
  • East Park: constructed 2 tennis courts and 6 shuffleboard courts, regraded and sodded
  • East Lake Park: drained swampy area north of lake and improved other drains, regraded picnic and bathhouse area, constructed 3 tennis courts and 11 barbecue pits
  • Ensley Park: constructed 2 tennis courts and 6 shuffleboard courts, trimmed trees and removed deadwood, added 11 barbecue pits
  • Ensley Highlands: regraded baseball diamond, added drainage ditch and trimmed trees
  • Exchange Park (Shadyside Park): trimmed trees and some regrading
  • Lakeview Park: trimmed trees
  • Fountain Heights Park: constructed drainage ditches and placed pipe in steep areas, pruned tress and regraded and dressed entire park
  • Green Springs Park: Regraded and sodded picnic grounds, straightened stream and enclosed springs in pipe, widened roadway and constructed stone & concrete bridge, constructed 2 tennis courts and 11 barbecue pits
  • Harrison Park: constructed 2 tennis courts and 2 barbecue pits, enclosed drainage ditches with pipe, regraded part of park and trimmed trees and removed deadwood.
  • Highland Park: constructed storm sewer at lake bank, regraded #11 fairway and tee and green at #12.
  • Jordan Park (Behrens Park): enlarged and regraded baseball diamond with new outfield fence, regraded 3 tennis courts and trimmed trees and removed deadwood throughout, moved 2 drinking fountains
  • Lane Park (Red Mountain Park) constructed new roadway with piped culverts and 4 stone bridges, added water lines, constructed 7 small picnic shelters and 1 large community building of stone and timber obtained from the site.
  • Lowery Park: improved roadway on south side of park, regraded baseball diamond and constructed foundation for new bleachers
  • Magnolia Park: trimmed trees
  • McLendon Park: enlarged baseball diamond, graded 4 volleyball courts and 8 tennis courts, regraded hillside and leveled park area, constructed sidewalks and drainage ditches
  • North Birmingham Park: constructed 6 shuffleboard courts, graded picnic area and provided 11 barbecue pits and 100 picnic tables, trimmed trees throughout.
  • North Birmingham Golf Course: trimmed trees and removed deadwood, dressed greens, regraded #6 fairway and constructed wood tractor shed
  • Norwood Boulevard: graded tennis courts, trimmed trees and adjusted sidewalks and planted shrubs
  • Phelan Park: dressed hillside and planted 1,200 iris bulbs
  • Pratt CIty (White Park): graded baseball diamond
  • Pratt City (Colored Park): graded play area
  • Ramsey Park: graded area for baseball diamond, 4 tennis courts and formal walk, constructed drainage ditches and sodded slopes, installed water line to playground and planted shrubs
  • Rhodes Park: trimmed trees and removed deadwood
  • Rushton Park: trimmed trees and removed deadwood
  • Stockham Park: rebuilt baseball diamond, constructed 1 new tennis court and regraded others, leveled wooded area and improved drainage ditches, trimmed trees and added slag walk
  • Underwood Park: redressed slopes and trimmed trees
  • West Park (Kelly Ingram Park): Regraded, leveled and sodded entire park
  • Willow Wood Park: built 6 shuffleboard courts, regraded volleyball court, trimmed trees and dressed grades
  • Woodrow Wilson Park (Capitol Park): Removed 25 dead trees, trimmed others and dressed grounds
  • Woodward Park: Trimmed trees, planted evergreens and shrubs. Graded football field and 4 tennis courts, moved drinking fountain and built 3 ovens.
  • Wylam Park: Graded for 8 tennis courts, improved drainage ditches, planted shrubs

Birmingham public buildings

Birmingham streets and sidewalks

Tuscaloosa

References