The New Deal in Wiscasset Maine

Not much New Deal activity occurred in Wiscasset during the depression according to the town reports, mostly road repairs. You get a sense of the typical tight-fisted frugal Down East town fathers from the sparse just-the-facts-ma’am financial figures with only the school report providing some human context with the essays of the condition of the schools, reports of the children’s progress and pride in their frugality. A depressing aspect of the time was the forcible removal of tramps out of the town and pride in the savings accomplished. That mind set even extends up to modern times, what with the town being unwilling to expend any money for the repairs of the former schooners Hesper and Luther Little which used to be a significant part of the towns history and notable landmark. Wiscasset’s population, which was 1,185 in 1930 hasn’t substantially increased since, being only 3,732 according to the 2010 census. The town was featured on the Living New Deal website as Fern L Nesson uses the famous WPA Travel Guides to see if modern conditions match what was written about back in the 1930’s. https://livingnewdeal.org/travels-with-the-american-guide-series-a-wpa-federal-writers-project-2/

Wiscassett New Deal. Town reports were submitted March 1st of the following year.

1933

C.W. A. ROAD PROJECT No apropriation Town share $108.41 To be reimbursed by C. W. A.

1934

School Report

This winter the E.R.A. has provided beef soup for hot lunches to be served those children who cannot go home to dinner.

1936 (released February 19th)

February 19th – W. P. A. SIDEWALK PROJECT RECEIPTS
No appropriation Overdraft $ 113 75

W. P. A. ROAD PROJECT RECEIPTS
No appropriation Overdraft $ 113 06

1937 (released February 28th)

February 28th – Note—The rebuilding of Mill Bridge was undertaken as a WPA Project with the Town of Woolwich joining with Wiscasset as sponsors. The Town of Woolwich agreed to furnish and pay for in full the derrick required for the job. The Town of Wiscasset purchased all the materials, the Town of Woolwich agreeing to reimburse Wiscasset for one-half its expense. The total cost for materials, etc., paid for by Wiscasset was $454.27. Left-over material of use to Wiscasset was valued at $1.50, making net cost of materials, etc., $452.77. Town of Woolwich has reimbursed Wiscasset for one- half that amount or $226.38.

1938

W. P. A. ROAD PROJECT D-14

RECEIPTS EXPENDITURES From Misc. In. Acct. $ 796.87 A. E. Ames $ 117.00 Harold E. Rines 291.68 Joseph J. Dowling 114.34 Harley Colby, Gravel 133.90 Dr. B. A. Bailey, Gravel 28.00 Wiscasset Lumber Co. 22.69 Wiscasset Hardware Co. 31.04 Flood’s Hardware 49.22 H. R. Pease, Travel 9.00

Total $ 796.87

Note: This project was started by the former Board of Selectmen. The Town having been thus committed, the present Board carried out the moral if not legal obligations of the Town.

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