New Deal in Magee: School Buildings

Vocational Shop

Magee Vocational Shop. Retrieved from MDAH Digital Archives, Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks.

One of the New Deal projects that gets less recognition is the Civil Works Administration, a job creation program established under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, active in providing temporary employment for manual laborers between 1933-1934.  Using standard Mississippi Department of Education plans, CWA built the vocational shop building for Magee schools in 1934.  This building, along with many of the Depression-era school construction for Magee, is no longer extant.

The Magee grammar school was completed as Public Works Administration project W1215.  The project was approved August 19, 1937 and a $10,627 grant was awarded toward the total cost of $23,615.  Designed by Mississippi’s Edgar Lucian Malvaney, construction began December 4, 1937 and was completed March 18, 1938.

Lower Elementary

Magee Grammar School (Lower Elementary). Retrieved from MDAH Digital Archives Series 1513 School Photograph Scrapbooks, Item 2924.

In addition to documentation in the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works Projects Division records from January 3, 1940, the Clarion-Ledger ran a list of all 228 school buildings in Mississippi completed with PWA aid, listing the Magee consolidated schools as benefitting (“PWA aided in construction of 228 school buildings in state; Complete list given. Sept. 25, 1939, Clarion-Ledger).  The Lower Elementary School is no longer extant.  Most likely, neither is the pedal car pictured on the sidewalk. It resembles the Western Flyer brand sold by Western Auto, such as the 1952 Champion pedal car.  Maybe kids were taking the car to school earlier than we thought.

Categories: Magee, New Deal, Schools


3 replies

  1. The sweet little pedal car just jumps out of the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wanted one of those so badly when I was a kid, but it was a luxury we could not afford. I had a friend who had one, though, and every time we visited, I drove that little sucker everywhere. :)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Checkout WPA candidate American Legion Hut # 24 in Hattiesburg just a block down from the public library and across the road from Hawkins Elementary
        It was originally built for the City of Hattiesburg as a community Center. The city donated its use to the USO in 1941 for the duration of the war. Later deeded to the American Legion and named for the first Forrest county soldier KIA in France(Aubrey Carter ?) during WWI. Where the Legion now holds its Bingo parties was, during the war, the dance floor with an elevated bandstand for performers. I’m just wondering if Overstreet had any input into the Legion Hut design as the interior is reminiscent of that of the Demonstration School on the USM campus. The original interior was gutted in the 1960s. Overstreet is credited with the design of the campus Demonstration School.


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