The town of Edwards used Civil Works Administration (CWA) funds to finish a school playground, construct a swimming pool, municipal park, and athletic field improvements. Windows in the two-story brick high school were repainted and repaired. A teachers’ home was renovated, new plumbing installed, and painted, along with foundation beam stabilization. The completion and opening of the athletic field, park, and swimming pool were called
…sensible and beneficial…comparatively permanent…and all will render real community service and benefits. (Clarion-Ledger, May 3, 1934, p. 6)
Dedication ceremonies were held May 4, 1934, with a ceremony at the school for the athletic field, picnic at the park, and adjournment to the swimming pool for the final part of the day’s festivities. I have been unable to pinpoint exact locations for any of the 3 municipal improvements, but newspaper items give clues, as does the swimming pool photograph if one knew locations of 1934 buildings, particularly the mission-style service station visible.
The “natural bowl used as an athletic field” was enlarged to approximately 300 yards square and some 6-10,000 cubic yards of dirt removed, followed by construction of a concrete stadium with “ample seating.” By 1955, Edwards did not have a football program.
I assume the pool and park would have been located in proximity to each other, and the only area that seems likely is near to the downtown area. There is a small park area in the block created by Main, Magnolia, Old 80 and the railroad/Front streets.
The new Edwards High School was constructed 1920 by N. W. Overstreet and was located on Magnolia Street at the curve of Highway 80. It was demolished c. 1985 per MDAH Historic Resources Inventory. The stone letters spelling out Edwards on the embankment and visible in the photograph in the 1955 newspaper article below are still extant. The teacher’s residence was next to the school, facing Broadway, next door to the Presbyterian Church and is not extant. In 1942, the National Youth Administration erected the gymnasium across the street from the high school, in the curve of Highway 80. Though in disrepair and continuing to deteriorate, the gymnasium is extant.
The Civil Works Administration was created November 9, 1933,¹ and headed by social worker Harry Hopkins, who had worked for President Roosevelt when he was governor of New York. CWA was designed to be a temporary program to help those unemployed weather the winter of 1933-34.² The CWA was funded by the Public Works Administration, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and a Congressional appropriation.² Ending in July 1934, the program had over 200,000 projects.² Due to the success of the program and the losses felt by its closure, the program was recreated as the Works Progress Administration in 1935.
Sources: (1) The American Presidency Project, Franklin D. Roosevelt, retrieved from Living New Deal; (2) Harry L. Hopkins, Spending to Save: The Complete Story of Relief, retrieved from Living New Deal.
Clarion-Ledger Dec. 19, 1933, January 10, 1934, January 18, 1934, April 22, 1934, May 2, 1934, and May 3, 1934.