November 9, 1933 – President Franklin Roosevelt Unveils the Civil Works Administration

On this day in history, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the creation of the Civil Works Administration (CWA). The CWA was established to create temporary jobs for millions who had became unemployed during The Great Depression, in order to help carry them through the winter of 1933-34. Harry L. Hopkins was put in charge of the organization.

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The CWA was established by Executive Order 6420B, according to which $400 million would be allocated.

The CWA was to hire workers – both men and women – to assist in the creation of public projects. The CWA’s projects focused on the repair or construction of public buildings, roadways, and parks. The CWA remained in operation until March 1934, when the federal government terminated the program due to its tremendous costs – up to $200 million a month.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, replaced the short-term CWA.

During the short five-month time the CWA was in operation, four million workers laid 12 million feet of sewer pipe and built or improved 255,000 miles of roads, 40,000 schools, 3,700 playgrounds, nearly 1,000 airports, and some 250,000 outhouses still badly needed in rural America.

CWA Road Improvement Project in San Francisco

CWA Road Improvement Project in San Francisco


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