Things businesses don't do for themselves. (See below)

The state of American infrastructure pre-1935.

New Deal road projects put Americans to work.

New Deal roads helped businesses connect with customers.

WPA disaster relief restored transportation networks.

A WPA-built bridge.

Airports built by the WPA advanced the age of commercial aviation.

WPA trainees helped America win World War II.


WPA to the Rescue!

April 9, 2012

Tags: WPA, outhouse, rescue, New Deal

This story arrived by email over the weekend. It's another example of the WPA's extraordinary work in rescuing America, and Americans, during the Great Depression of the 1930s. I'm posting it with the writer's permission.

Dear Nick,

I'm glad you have written about the WPA.

I wanted to tell you my story because if it wasn't for the WPA, I would not be alive today. It took a miracle to save me. Timing is everything in this story.

We lived in the hills of NE Washington. My mother was pregnant with my brother. She was alone on this day. As she had a bad heart, she tired easily and for the first time she sent me up to the outdoor toilet alone. I could not have been more than 3 years old. When she realized that I had not come back, she raced up the hill and discovered that I had fallen in the toilet. I was sinking fast. It just happened that on that day the WPA was working on our road. She stood in the road and screamed. A huge black man came running and lifted the toilet off the hole and rescued me. She said it took the rest of the day to clean up both of us as she had to pack water and heat it on a wood stove. So I have a soft spot for the WPA and a thanks to that president. I'm also famous in our family for this event and it has generated a lot of laughter. It is told at family parties and whenever new people come around. I quietly thank God for my life.

Madeline Kjolseth
Anderson Island, WA


  1. April 10, 2012 4:28 PM EDT

    I don't get this. "She was alone on this day. As she had a bad heart, she tired easily and for the first time she sent me up to the outdoor toilet alone. " Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this."
    - sports supplies water polo
  2. April 26, 2012 12:46 PM EDT
    Dear Water Polo,
    By being alone, I meant her husband was gone that day. It may be a regional understanding. Sorry to confuse you.
    - Madeline Kjolseth

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